The Effect of Peer Gender on Major Choice
University of Zurich, Department of Economics, Working Paper No. 270, Revised version
44 Pages Posted: 17 Nov 2017 Last revised: 30 Aug 2018
Date Written: August 27, 2018
This paper investigates how the peer gender composition in university affects students’ major choices and labor market outcomes. Women who are randomly assigned to more female peers become less likely to choose male-dominated majors, and they end up in jobs in which they work fewer hours and earn less. Men become more likely to choose male-dominated majors after having had more female peers, although their labor market outcomes are not affected. Our results suggest that the increasing female university enrollment over recent decades has paradoxically contributed to the occupational segregation among university graduates that persists in today’s labor market.
Keywords: peer effects, major choice, gender composition
JEL Classification: I21, I24, J24
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation