Anne Ardila Brenoe

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Melbourne Institute Seminar Room
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Title: Sibling Gender Composition and Participation in STEM Education

Abstract: This paper studies the causal impact of sibling gender composition on participation in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) education. I focus on a sample of first-born children who all have a younger biological sibling, using rich administrative data on the total Danish population. The randomness of the second-born siblings' gender allows me to estimate the causal effect of having an opposite sex sibling relative to a same sex sibling. The results are robust to family size and show that having a second-born opposite sex sibling makes first-born men more and women less likely to enroll in a STEM program. Although sibling gender composition has no impact on men's probability of actually completing a STEM degree, it has a powerful effect on women's success within these fields: women with a younger brother are eleven percent less likely to complete any field-specific STEM education relative to women with a sister. I provide evidence that parents of mixed sex children gender-specialize their parenting more than parents of same sex children. These findings indicate that the family environment plays in important role for shaping interests in STEM fields.

Presenter: Anne Ardila Brenøe, University of Copenhagen

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