Can Female Doctors Cure the Gender STEMM Gap? Evidence from Randomly Assigned General Practitioners

By Vilde Blomhoff Pedersen

16 October 2019 15:35

Can Female Doctors Cure the Gender STEMM Gap? Evidence from Randomly Assigned General Practitioners

New working paper by Julie Riise (UiB), Barton Willage (Louisiana State University) & Alexander Willén (FAIR), titled "Can Female Doctors Cure the Gender STEMM Gap? Evidence from Randomly Assigned General Practitioners".

ABSTRACT

We use random assignment of general practitioners (GPs) to provide the first evidence on the effects of female role models in childhood on the long-run educational outcomes of girls. We find that girls who are exposed to female GPs in childhood are significantly more likely to sort into traditionally male-dominated education programs in high school, most notably STEMM. These effects persist as females enter college and select majors. We also find strong positive effects on educational performance throughout their academic careers, suggesting that female role models in childhood improve education matches of girls. The effects we identify are significantly larger for high-ability girls with low educated parents, suggesting that female role models may improve intergenerational mobility and narrow the gifted gap for disadvantaged girls.

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