Dr. Jamin Speer's Paper Accepted for AEFP's Annual Conference

For release:  February 2, 2016

Dr. Jamin Speer, professor of Economics, has had a paper entitled, "The Gender Gap in College Major: Revisiting the Role of Pre-College Abilities," accepted into the Association for Education Finance and Policy's (AEFP) annual conference that will be held this March. The AEFP is one of the most important organizations on education policy and the economics of education in the country.

The paper considers the role of pre-college preparation and abilities in accounting for gender gaps in college majors. Using a broad array of ability measures, the paper finds that a substantial portion of gender gaps in college majors can be accounted for by pre-college preparation, including two-thirds of the gap in science and almost half of the gap in engineering. By contrast, only a small portion of women's higher likelihood of switching out of STEM majors is explained by these ability measures. The paper notes that Pre-college preparation is one important factor, but certainly not the only factor, in determining students' choice of major.