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Girls Helping Girls - The Impact of Female Peers on Grades and Educational Choices

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Document pages: 40 pages

Abstract: We use idiosyncratic variation in gender composition across cohorts within Norwegian lower-secondary schools to analyze the impact of female peers on students’ grades and choices of typical masculine subjects (STEM subjects). We find that girls’ performance in mathematics and science increases slightly. Survey evidence suggests that a potential mechanism is an improved classroom environment. More female peers have a larger effect on choices than on performance. Improved performance in STEM subjects can only account for around 20-30 percent of the effects on choices. Instead, the evidence indicates that the mechanism is related to gender norms.

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