Economics has a long-running diversity problem. In 1993 only 30% of senior majors in the top economics departments in the US were women. As of 2017 this has only increased slightly to 35% (Lundberg and Sterns 2019). This is compared to women accounting for 59% of bachelor degree recipients overall in 2016. Similarly, African Americans and Hispanics account for 5% and 11%, respectively, of bachelor degrees awarded in economics nationally. To both understand and improve this lack of diversification, several initiatives have been developed and analyzed at various universities. One strand of this literature has found that women and minorities may avoid economics, and STEM fields more generally, because of existing stereotypes (e.g., Beasley and Fischer 2012; Cheryan et al. 2011; Correll 2001) and that providing this information can change behavior (Bayer & Lozano 2019; Frick et al. 2018; Li 2018). In this research project, we seek to answer whether a low-cost informational intervention can increase student diversity in economics courses and majors. To answer this questions, we will conduct a randomized control trial (RCT) in introductory economics classes that will provide a series of informational videos and/or information about where students' grades place in the historical grade distribution in these classes.
Bayer, A., Bhanot, S. P., & Lozano, F. (2019, May). Does Simple Information Provision Lead to More Diverse Classrooms? Evidence from a Field Experiment on Undergraduate Economics. In AEA Papers and Proceedings (Vol. 109, pp. 110-14).
Beasley, M. A., & Fischer, M. J. (2012). Why they leave: The impact of stereotype threat on the attrition of women and minorities from science, math and engineering majors. Social Psychology of Education, 15(4), 427-448.
Cheryan, S., Siy, J. O., Vichayapai, M., Drury, B. J., & Kim, S. (2011). Do female and male role models who embody STEM stereotypes hinder women’s anticipated success in STEM?. Social Psychological and Personality Science, 2(6), 656-664.
Correll, S. J. (2001). Gender and the career choice process: The role of biased self-assessments. American Journal of Sociology, 106(6), 1691-1730.
Fricke, H., Grogger, J., Steinmayr, A. (2018) Exposure to academic fields and college major choice Economics of Education Review, 64 199–213.
Li (2018). Do Mentoring, Information, and Nudge Reduce the Gender Gap among Economics Majors? Economics of Education Review, 64, 165-183.
Lundberg, S., & Stearns, J. (2019). Women in economics: Stalled progress. Journal of Economic Perspectives, 33(1), 3-22.