Gender Differences in Predispositions Towards Economics

33 Pages Posted: 16 Jun 2006

See all articles by Cynthia Bansak

Cynthia Bansak

Saint Lawrence University - Department of Economics

Martha Starr

American University - Department of Economics

Date Written: May 2006

Abstract

Previous studies find that, upon entering the college class, women are less likely than men to be interested in economics and more likely to expect it to be difficult, which contributes to their under-representation in the field. This paper investigates causes of gender differences in predispositions towards economics, using survey data from a large state university. A key finding is that students widely view economics as a business-oriented field that prioritizes math skills and emphasizes making money - a combination that is a turn-off for women, but not so much for men. Our results suggest that playing up the value of economics for social-welfare analysis, while playing down its business applications, may be important for re-balancing predispositions at the outset of the principles class.

JEL Classification: A22, D83, J16

Suggested Citation

Bansak, Cynthia and Starr, Martha, Gender Differences in Predispositions Towards Economics (May 2006). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=908899 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.908899

Cynthia Bansak

Saint Lawrence University - Department of Economics ( email )

One Romoda Drive
Canton, NY 13617
United States

Martha Starr (Contact Author)

American University - Department of Economics ( email )

4400 Massachusetts Avenue, N.W.
Washington, DC 20016-8029
United States
202-885-3747 (Phone)

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