The Sources of the Gender Gap in Economics Enrolment

24 Pages Posted: 30 Sep 2014

See all articles by Mirco Tonin

Mirco Tonin

Free University of Bozen-Bolzano; IZA; CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute)

Jackline Wahba

University of Southampton, Department of Economics; IZA Institute of Labor Economics

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Date Written: September 29, 2014

Abstract

In many countries there is a considerable gender gap in enrolment for a bachelor’s degree in Economics, arguably an important stepping stone towards positions of influence in policy making and occupations paying relatively high wages. We investigate the sources of this gap by looking in detail at the university admission process in the UK. We use a 50 percent random sample of administrative data covering all university applications in 2008 and find no evidence of universities discriminating against female applicants. What we find is that girls are less likely to apply for a bachelor’s degree in Economics to start with, even if once they apply their likelihood of enroling is the same as for boys. Girls are less likely to study Maths in high school and this may deter them from applying to study Economics at the university level. However, even among those who have studied Maths, females are less likely to apply than males, suggesting that differences in the choice of A level subjects cannot explain the whole gap.

Keywords: education, economics, gender, discrimination, pay gap

JEL Classification: I210, I230, I280, J240

Suggested Citation

Tonin, Mirco and Wahba, Jackline, The Sources of the Gender Gap in Economics Enrolment (September 29, 2014). CESifo Working Paper Series No. 4957, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2502808

Mirco Tonin (Contact Author)

Free University of Bozen-Bolzano ( email )

Sernesiplatz 1
Bozen-Bolzano, BZ 39100
Italy

IZA ( email )

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CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute) ( email )

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Germany

Jackline Wahba

University of Southampton, Department of Economics ( email )

Southampton, SO171BJ
United Kingdom
+44 23 8059 3996 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://https://sites.google.com/site/jackiewahba/

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

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