Seminar on "High Performing Peers and Female STEM Choices in School"
Women have historically been underrepresented in STEM jobs. This paper uses administrative data from China to examine the extent to which the presence of high-performing peers in mathematics affects the likelihood that women choose a science track during high school. Results indicate that having a higher proportion of high-performing females increases STEM major choices by girls, while more high-performing males may decrease this likelihood. There is little evidence of peer effects for boys. Our results suggest that girls doing well in quantitative fields may have a role model or affirmation effect that encourages their female classmates to pursue a science track.
Dr Yaojing Wang got her PhD in economics from Texas A&M University in 2016. She is now a quantitative financial analyst at Bank of America. Her research paper is published at Journal of Labor Economics.