Nevertheless She Persisted? Gender Peer Effects in Doctoral STEM Programs
We study the effects of peer gender composition, a proxy for female-friendliness of environment, in STEM doctoral programs on persistence and degree completion. Leveraging unique new data and quasi-random variation in gender composition across cohorts within programs, we show that women entering cohorts with no female peers are 11.9pp less likely to graduate within 6 years than their male counterparts. A 1 sd increase in the percentage of female students differentially increases the probability of on-time graduation for women by 4.6pp. These gender peer effects function primarily through changes in the probability of dropping out in the first year of a Ph.D. program and are largest in programs that are typically male-dominated.
Valerie K. Bostwick & Bruce A. Weinberg, 2022. "Nevertheless She Persisted? Gender Peer Effects in Doctoral STEM Programs," Journal of Labor Economics, vol 40(2), pages 397-436.