ICES Seminar in Experimental Economics and Game Theory

The Minority Trap: Minority Status Drives Women Out of Male-Dominated Fields

Friday, August 26, 2022 12:00 PM to 1:00 PM EDT
Vernon Smith Hall (formerly Metropolitan Building)

ICES Seminar in Experimental Economics and Game Theory

The ICES Seminar in Experimental Economics and Game Theory of the Fall 2022 semester will feature:

Xiaoyue Shan

University of Pennsylvania

The Minority Trap: Minority Status Drives Women Out of Male-Dominated Fields

 

 

Abstract

This paper examines whether being in the minority causes women to leave male-dominated fields. I conduct a field experiment in an introductory economics course where I randomly assign students to small study groups with different gender compositions. Results show that women assigned to female-minority groups are 11 percentage points more likely to drop out of the course than women in other groups. This dropout effect is especially strong for women with higher math achievement and academic potential; when randomly assigned to a female minority group, these women are also more likely to leave the original study program in the long run. I highlight three potential mechanisms of the effect: raised salience of women’s minority status, decreased academic self-confidence, and reduced social integration. The findings of the paper suggest that minority status can perpetuate itself and create a vicious cycle of underrepresentation.

 

For more information about the Seminar Series, please visit the Seminar Schedule homepage.

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