Seminar Gender, Behavior and Decision-Making with Léa Dousset

New session of the online Seminar "Gender, Behavior and Decision-Making" by The Women & Science Chair of Université Paris Dauphine - PSL.

The next session of the seminar « Gender, Behavior and Decision-Making » will take place Tuesday the 5th of March from 5 pm to 6 pm online (Teams). The Teams link will be provided in due time.
We will have the pleasure to listen to Léa Dousset who will present “The End of a Gender Quota in Elite Higher Education”, co-authored with Georgia Thebault (postdoc researcher at Sciences Po Paris).


Léa Dousset is a doctoral student in economics at the Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne and the Paris School of Economics under the supervision of Julien Grenet. She works on the causes and consequences of inequalities in secondary and higher education, with a particular interest in the under-representation of women in scientific fields. She is affiliated with the DEPP, the "educational policies and social mobility" chair (Ardian-DEPP-PSE) and the Institute for Public Policy.


Women remain underrepresented in math-intensive fields, which has long-run implications for not just economic, but also scientific outcomes. We show that a gender quota system in competitive higher education institutions could be an efficient solution to address this problem. We use original hand-collected historical data from the entrance exam for one of the most competitive elite graduate schools in France to evaluate the effect of a change in admission policy that removed a hard gender-based quota system. We document that the end of the quota led to a sharp decline in the percentage of admitted female candidates, but only in math-intensive fields. We then focus on the mathematics entrance exam to delve into the mechanisms. We show that roughly half of this fall can be mechanically explained by a gender performance gap. However, we also uncover an endogenous response by female candidates: there are fewer female candidates at the entrance exam once it became mixed-sex, and this shying-away mechanism is mostly driven by potentially high-achieving female candidates. This detrimental endogenous response of women in a real-life context is important. As this elite institution leads to high-level academic careers in France, we show that the removal of the gender quota increased the gender gap in professorial and research careers for affected students.

About the Women & Science Chair

The Women and Science Chair at Université Paris Dauphine - PSL, created with the support of the L’Oréal Foundation, the Generali Foundation, La Poste, and the Talan Group, seeks to engage and foster interdisciplinary approaches to analyzing the causes and consequences of the underrepresentation of women in careers in scientific research and academia.

The Women and Science Chair is member of the UNESCO chairs network.

More information

Informations Pratiques

Date : mardi 5 mars 2024
de 17h00 à 18h00