Munich Personal RePEc Archive

Grades, gender, and encouragement: A regression discontinuity analysis

Owen, Ann L. (2008): Grades, gender, and encouragement: A regression discontinuity analysis.

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This study employs a regression discontinuity design in order to provide direct evidence on the effects of grades earned in economics principles classes on the decision to major in economics and finds a differential effect for male and female students. Specifically, for female students, receiving an “A” for a final grade in the first economics class is associated with a meaningful increase in the probability of majoring in economics, even after controlling for the numerical grade earned in the class. This suggests that, for female students, the feedback that is embedded in the course letter grade has an encouragement effect on their decision to study economics further. It finds no evidence of a similar effect for male students.

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