Equilibrium Grade Inflation with Implications for Female Interest in STEM Majors
Substantial earnings differences exist across majors with the majors that pay well also having lower grades and higher workloads. We show that the harsher grading policies in STEM courses disproportionately affect women. To show this, we estimate a model of student demand courses and optimal effort choices of students conditional on the chosen courses. Instructor grading policies are treated as equilibrium objects that in part depend on student demand for courses. Restrictions on grading policies that equalize average grades across classes helps to close the STEM gender gap as well as increasing overall enrollment in STEM classes.
The views expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of the Federal Trade Commission. The contributions of Amy Hopson to this article were prepared in her former capacity as a researcher at Duke University. The opinions expressed in the article are the authors' own and do not reflect the views of the Bureau of Labor Statistics or the Department of Labor. The views expressed herein are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Bureau of Economic Research.