Gender Differences in Predispositions Towards Economics
33 Pages Posted: 16 Jun 2006
Date Written: May 2006
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: Suggested Citation