Equilibrium Grade Inflation with Implications for Female Interest in Stem Majors

47 Pages Posted: 16 Dec 2019 Last revised: 25 Jul 2021

See all articles by Tom Ahn

Tom Ahn

Government of the United States of America - Naval Postgraduate School

Peter Arcidiacono

Duke University - Department of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Amy Hopson

Duke University

James Thomas

Government of the United States of America - Federal Trade Commission

Date Written: December 2019

Abstract

Substantial earnings differences exist across majors with the majors that pay well also having lower grades and higher workloads. We show that the harsher grading policies in STEM courses disproportionately affect women. To show this, we estimate a model of student demand courses and optimal effort choices of students conditional on the chosen courses. Instructor grading policies are treated as equilibrium objects that in part depend on student demand for courses. Restrictions on grading policies that equalize average grades across classes helps to close the STEM gender gap as well as increasing overall enrollment in STEM classes.

Suggested Citation

Ahn, Tom and Arcidiacono, Peter and Hopson, Amy and Thomas, James, Equilibrium Grade Inflation with Implications for Female Interest in Stem Majors (December 2019). NBER Working Paper No. w26556, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3504441

Tom Ahn (Contact Author)

Government of the United States of America - Naval Postgraduate School ( email )

Peter Arcidiacono

Duke University - Department of Economics ( email )

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Box 90097
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National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) ( email )

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Amy Hopson

Duke University ( email )

James Thomas

Government of the United States of America - Federal Trade Commission ( email )

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