Women in STEM Graduate Education: Case of the German Excellence Initiative

26 Pages Posted: 29 Sep 2022 Last revised: 30 Jul 2023

Date Written: July 30, 2023


Are public policies effective in enhancing gender balance in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) graduate education? Using Germany’s Excellence Initiative as an event study, I analyze changes in cohorts of doctorate recipients in STEM fields and investigate whether the Excellence Initiative’s graduate school line of funding, which is a large-scale public policy that aimed to create and sustain STEM graduate programs also succeeded to increase women’s share among STEM doctorate recipients. Focusing on natural sciences and mathematics doctorate recipients between 2000 and 2014, I find no statistically significant evidence that the Excellence Initiative led to any significant increase in women’s participation in STEM studies beyond already existing trends in these fields. I find, however, significant differences between funded and not funded STEM graduate programs in their rate of internationalization, which was another major policy target of the Excellence Initiative.

Keywords: Graduate Education; Public Funding; PhD Cohorts; Natural Sciences; Excellence Initiative

JEL Classification: H52, I23, O32

Suggested Citation

Önder, Ali Sina, Women in STEM Graduate Education: Case of the German Excellence Initiative (July 30, 2023). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4195329 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.4195329

Ali Sina Önder (Contact Author)

University of Portsmouth ( email )

Portsmouth, PO1 3DE
United Kingdom

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