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Monday, March 18, 2019 at 11:40am to 1:10pm
Ives Hall, 115
B07 Tower Rd, Ithaca, NY 14853, USA
Peter Arcidiacono, Duke University
Equilibrium Grade Inflation with Implications for Female Interest in STEM Majors*
(Thomas Ahn, Peter Arcidiacono, Amy Hopson, James Thomas)
Abstract: We estimate an equilibrium model of grading policies where professors set grading policies and students register and study for classes, in part, based on these policies. Professors value enrollment, learning, and student study time, and set policies taking into account how other professors grade. Male and female students value course types, the benefits associated with higher grades, and effort costs differently. We calculate how much of the differences in grading policies across fields is driven by differences in demand for courses in those fields and how much is due to differences in professor preferences across fields. We also decompose differences in female/male course taking across fields driven by differences in i) cognitive skills, ii) valuation of grades, iii) cost of studying, and iv) field preferences. We then run counterfactual simulations to evaluate changes to grading policies. Restrictions on grading policies that equalize grade distributions across classes result in higher (lower) grades in science (non-science) fields but more (less) work being required. As women are willing to study more than men, this restriction on grading policies results in more women pursuing the sciences and more men pursuing the non-sciences.