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► Causal impact of fraction of girls in schools on (vocational) school type choice
for female students. ► Population variation: gender composition of adjacent cohorts
within schools. ► The higher the share of girls, the less likely they choose a female-dominated
school type at age 14. ► Results robust to falsification tests and sensitivity checks.
Gender segregation in employment may be explained by women's reluctance to choose
technical occupations. However, the foundations for career choices are laid much earlier.
Educational experts claim that female students are doing better in math and science
and are more likely to choose these subjects if they are in single-sex classes. One
possible explanation is that coeducational settings reinforce gender stereotypes.
In this paper, we identify the causal impact of the gender composition in coeducational
classes on the choice of school type for female students. Using natural variation
in the gender composition of adjacent cohorts within schools, we show that girls are
less likely to choose a traditionally female dominated school type and more likely
to choose a male dominated school type at the age of 14 if they were exposed to a
higher share of girls in previous grades.