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Kimball's failed replication of Reinhart-Rogoff finding cited in argument for tempered public response to social science research results

Edin and Shaefer's book on destitute families in America reviewed in NYT

Johnston says rate of daily marijuana use among college students now greater than rate of daily cigarette smoking

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Deirdre Bloome wins ASA award for work on racial inequality and intergenerational transmission

Bob Willis awarded 2015 Jacob Mincer Award for Lifetime Contributions to the Field of Labor Economics

David Lam is new director of Institute for Social Research

Elizabeth Bruch wins Robert Merton Prize for paper in analytic sociology

Next Brown Bag

Monday, Oct 12
Joe Grengs, Policy & Planning for Social Equity in Transportation

psc brown bag iconHigh School Environments, STEM Orientations, and the Gender Gap in Science and Engineering Degrees

Thomas A. DiPrete (Department of Sociology, Columbia University), Joscha Legewie

04/01/2013, at noon in room 6050 ISR-Thompson.

Archived video available

Despite the striking reversal of the gender gap in education, women pursue science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) degrees at much lower rates than their male peers do. This study extends existing explanations for these gender differences and examines two important and related dimensions: the life-course timing of a stable gender gap in STEM orientation, and variations across high schools. We argue that the high school years play an important role for gender differences in orientation towards STEM fields as students develop a more realistic and cognitively grounded understanding of their future work lives. During this period, the gender-specific formation of career aspirations is not only shaped by widely shared and hegemonic gender beliefs but also by the local environment in school. Together these two dimensions extend existing explanations of the gender gap in STEM degrees and open concrete avenues for policy intervention. Using the National Education Longitudinal Study (NELS), we then decompose the gender gap in STEM bachelor degrees and show that the solidification of the gender gap in STEM orientations is largely a process that occurs during the high school years. Far from being a fixed attribute of adolescent development, however, we find that the size of the gender gap in STEM orientation is quite sensitive to local high school influences; going to school at a high school that is supportive of a positive orientation by females towards math and science can reduce the gender gap in STEM bachelor degrees by 25% or more.

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