Publication:
Equilibrium Grade Inflation with Implications for Female Interest

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Authors
Ahn, Thomas
Arcidiacono, Peter
Hopson, Amy
Thomas, James
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Date of Issue
2019
Date
2019
Publisher
National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)
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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 evalaute 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.
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Report
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Naval Postgraduate School (U.S.)
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Format
49 p.
Citation
Ahn, Thomas, et al.�Equilibrium grade inflation with implications for female interest in stem majors. No. w26556. National Bureau of Economic Research, 2019.
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This publication is a work of the U.S. Government as defined in Title 17, United States Code, Section 101. Copyright protection is not available for this work in the United States.
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