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Shi paper on the puzzle of missing female engineers published in Economics of Education Review

May 31, 2018

Ying Shi

Ying Shi


This paper uses administrative North Carolina data linked from high school to college and national surveys to characterize the largest contributor to the STEM gender gap: engineering. Disparities are the result of differential entry during high school or earlier rather than postsecondary exit. Differences in pre-college academic preparation account for 5 to 7 percent of the gap. Females’ relative lack of academic self-confidence explains 8 percent, while other-regarding preferences and professional goals capture a further 14 percent. Empirical evidence using identifying variation in the gender composition of twins in North Carolina shows that opposite-sex pairs are more likely to pursue gender-stereotypical majors.
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