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The male-female gap in post-baccalaureate school quality

Women are less likely than men to earn degrees from high quality post-baccalaureate programs, and this tendency has been growing over time. [The author] show[s] that, aside from the biomedical sciences, this cannot be explained by changes in the type of program where women tend to earn degrees. Instead, sorting by quality within degree program is the main contributor to the growing gap. Most of this sorting is due to the initial choice in which program type to apply to. No gender differences in selection with respect to ability or program quality arise as students progress through the admissions, enrollment or persistence choices.

Women are less likely than men to earn degrees from high quality post-baccalaureate programs, and this tendency has been ...  Show Full Abstract  

Authors: Stevenson, Adam
Date: 2013
Geographic subjects: North America; United States
Journal title: Economics of education review
Resource type: Article
Subjects: Gender; Participation; Higher education;

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Tax benefits for graduate education: incentives for whom?

Numerous studies have examined the enrollment responses of traditional undergraduate students to the introduction of government-provided tuition subsidies, but far less attention has been devoted to the elasticity of demand for graduate education. This paper examines how the tax code and government education policies affect graduate enrollment and persistence rates along with the ways in which students fund their graduate education. [The authors'] empirical methodology is based on exogenous variations in the availability of an income tax exemption for employer-provided tuition assistance for graduate courses. [The authors] find that graduate attendance among full-time workers age 24-30 is higher when the tax exemption is available, mostly due to higher persistence in public universities and vocational course work. The use of employer aid for individuals enrolled in full-time and public part-time graduate programs also increases. [The authors] present some evidence that universities may adjust tuition to capture part of the incidence.

Numerous studies have examined the enrollment responses of traditional undergraduate students to the introduction of ...  Show Full Abstract  

Authors: Bednar, Steven; Gicheva, Dora
Date: 2013
Geographic subjects: North America; United States
Journal title: Economics of education review
Resource type: Article
Subjects: Finance; Higher education; Participation;

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The effect of instructor race and gender on student persistence in STEM fields

The objective of this study is to determine if minority and female students are more likely to persist in a science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) major when they enroll in classes taught by instructors of their own race or gender. Using data from public 4-year universities in the state of Ohio, I analyze first semester STEM courses to see if the race or gender of the instructor effects persistence of initial STEM majors in a STEM field after the first semester and first year. Results indicate that black students are more likely to persist in a STEM major if they have a STEM course taught by a black instructor. Similar to previous findings, female students are less likely to persist when more of their STEM courses are taught by female instructors.

The objective of this study is to determine if minority and female students are more likely to persist in a science, ...  Show Full Abstract  

Authors: Price, Joshua
Date: 2010
Geographic subjects: United States; North America
Journal title: Economics of education review
Resource type: Article
Subjects: Demographics; Gender; Higher education;

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The role of peers and grades in determining major persistence in the sciences

Using longitudinal administrative data from a large elite research university, this paper analyzes the role of peers and grades in determining major persistence in the life and physical sciences. In the physical sciences, analyses using within-course, across-time variation show that ex-ante measures of peer quality in a student’s introductory courses has a lasting impact on the probability of persisting in the major. This peer effect exhibits important non-linearities such that weak students benefit from exposure to stronger peers while strong students are not dragged down by weaker peers. In both the physical and the life sciences, I find evidence that students are ‘pulled away’ by their high grades in non-science courses and ‘pushed out’ by their low grades in their major field. In the physical sciences, females are found to be more responsive to grades than males, consistent with psychological theories of stereotype vulnerability.

Using longitudinal administrative data from a large elite research university, this paper analyzes the role of peers and ...  Show Full Abstract  

Authors: Ost, Ben
Date: 2010
Journal title: Economics of education review
Resource type: Article
Subjects: Participation; Skills and knowledge; Higher education;

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Persistence of women and minorities in STEM field majors: is it the school that matters?

During college, many students switch from their planned major to another, particularly so when that planned major was in a science, technology, engineering, or mathematics (STEM) field. A worrying statistic shows that persistence in one of these majors is much lower for women and minorities, suggesting that this may be a leaky joint in the STEM pipeline for these two groups of students. This paper uses restricted-use data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Freshmen (NLSF) and the National Education Longitudinal Study of 1988 (NELS:88) to examine which factors contribute to persistence of all students in STEM field majors, and in particular the persistence of women and minorities. Although descriptive statistics show that a smaller percentage of women and minorities persist in a STEM field major as compared to male and non-minority students, regression analysis shows that differences in preparation and the educational experiences of these students explains much of the differences in persistence rates. Students at selective institutions with a large graduate to undergraduate student ratio and that devote a significant amount of spending to research have lower rates of persistence in STEM fields. A higher percentage of female and minority STEM field graduate students positively impacts on the persistence of female and minority students. However, there is little evidence that having a larger percentage of STEM field faculty members that are female increases the likelihood of persistence for women in STEM majors. These results suggest that the sorting of women and minorities into different types of undergraduate programs, as well as differences in their backgrounds have a significant impact on persistence rates.

During college, many students switch from their planned major to another, particularly so when that planned major was in a ...  Show Full Abstract  

Authors: Griffith, Amanda L.
Date: 2010
Geographic subjects: United States; North America
Journal title: Economics of education review
Resource type: Article
Subjects: Demographics; Gender; Higher education;

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Attrition in STEM fields at a liberal arts college: the importance of grades and pre-collegiate preferences

There is widespread concern, both in the private and public sectors, about perceived declines in US college graduates in [science, technology, engineering and mathematics] STEM fields. In our sample, the proportion of science majors has remained steady over the sample period; however, the number entering our college intending to major in STEM fields has fallen. In this paper we use administrative data from the graduating classes of 2001-2009, roughly 5000 graduates, from a northeastern liberal arts college to model the progression of students through STEM majors. The results suggest that absolute and sometimes relative grades are important, as is the intended major (as reported on the admissions application). [Advanced placement] AP credits are also strongly correlated to taking a first course, but diminish in the more selected samples. Simulations suggest that if science grade distributions were more like the college average, there would be roughly 2-4 per cent more students progressing in STEM departments.

There is widespread concern, both in the private and public sectors, about perceived declines in US college graduates in ...  Show Full Abstract  

Authors: Rask, Kevin
Date: 2010
Geographic subjects: United States; North America
Journal title: Economics of education review
Resource type: Article
Subjects: Higher education; Participation; Students;

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Do bans on affirmative action hurt minority students?: evidence from the Texas top 10 per cent plan

In light of the recent bans on affirmative action in higher education, this paper provides new evidence on the effects of alternative admissions policies on the persistence and college completion of minority students. I find that the change from affirmative action to the top 10 per cent plan in Texas decreased both retention and graduation rates of lower-ranked minority students. Results show that both fall-to-fall freshmen retention and six-year college graduation of second-decile minority students decreased, respectively, by 2.4 and 3.3 percentage points. The effect of the change in admissions policy was slightly larger for minority students in the third and lower deciles: fall-to-fall freshmen retention and six-year college graduation decreased, respectively, by 4.9 and 4.2 percentage points. Moreover, I find no evidence in support of the minority ‘mismatch’ hypothesis. These results suggest that most of the increase in the graduation gap between minorities and non-minorities in Texas, a staggering 90 per cent, was driven by the elimination of affirmative action in the 1990s.

In light of the recent bans on affirmative action in higher education, this paper provides new evidence on the effects of ...  Show Full Abstract  

Authors: Cortes, Kalena E.
Date: 2010
Geographic subjects: United States; North America
Journal title: Economics of education review
Resource type: Article
Subjects: Students; Demographics; Equity;

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Do expenditures other than instructional expenditures affect graduation and persistence rates in American higher education?

During the last two decades, median instructional spending per full-time equivalent (FTE) student at American 4-year colleges and universities has grown at a slower rate than median spending per FTE student in a number of other expenditure categories, including academic support, student services and research. Our paper uses institutional level panel data and a variety of econometric approaches, including unconditional quantile regression methods, to analyze whether these non-instructional expenditure categories influence graduation and first-year persistence rates of undergraduate students. Our most important finding is that student service expenditures influence graduation and persistence rates and their marginal effects are higher for students at institutions with lower entrance test scores and higher Pell Grant expenditures per student. Put another way, their effects are largest at institutions that have lower current graduation and first-year persistence rates. Simulations suggest that reallocating some funding from instruction to student services may enhance persistence and graduation rates at those institutions whose rates are currently below the medians in the sample.

During the last two decades, median instructional spending per full-time equivalent (FTE) student at American 4-year ...  Show Full Abstract  

Authors: Webber, Douglas A.; Ehrenberg, Ronald G.
Date: 2010
Geographic subjects: United States; North America
Journal title: Economics of education review
Resource type: Article
Subjects: Finance; Economics; Higher education;

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Educational progression of second-generation immigrants and immigrant children

This paper provides important new insights into the reasons for the observed gap in educational attainment between children of immigrants and natives in Denmark using a dynamic discrete model of educational choices to determine at what stages of their educational careers children of immigrants face barriers to educational progression and how background characteristics affect educational choices at different points in the educational system. The main findings of the paper are that dropout rates from vocational upper secondary education are much higher among children of immigrants and that strengthening family characteristics reduces the dropout rates. However, behavioral differences and/or differences in constraints and institutional factors are also important barriers and thus determinants of the observed educational gaps as is age at immigration.

This paper provides important new insights into the reasons for the observed gap in educational attainment between children ...  Show Full Abstract  

Authors: Colding, Bjorg; Husted, Leif; Hummelgaard, Hans
Date: 2009
Geographic subjects: Europe; Denmark
Journal title: Economics of education review
Resource type: Article
Subjects: Skills and knowledge; Culture and society; Economics;

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The rational adolescent: discipline policies, lawsuits, and skill acquisition

The paper estimates the response of student truancy and long-run labor market outcomes to discipline policies in middle and secondary school. Simultaneous determination of student behaviors and school policies motivates an instrumental variables strategy. Because judicial climate influences administrators’ fear of discipline-related lawsuits, measures of judicial-legal climate at the state-level court are used as instruments for local discipline policies. Results indicate that the state-level judicial-legal climate does appear to influence administrators’ discipline policies; that students appear to be truant less often when discipline is stricter; and that school and long-run labor participation outcomes appear higher for students from schools with stricter discipline policies.

The paper estimates the response of student truancy and long-run labor market outcomes to discipline policies in middle and ...  Show Full Abstract  

Authors: Babcock, Philip
Date: 2009
Geographic subjects: North America; United States
Journal title: Economics of education review
Resource type: Article
Subjects: Youth; Outcomes; Skills and knowledge;

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