Although women are more likely to continue on to higher education, they are still underrepresented in STEM fields (Goldin and Kuziemko 2006).
The literature shows that this is due to several factors, both institutional and social (Anelli and Peri 2019, Breda et al.2018, Carrell et al.2010) and to gender differences in terms of general ability and preference (Carlana 2019, Jouini 2018, Niederle 2017, Zafar 2013).
Furthermore, the comparative advantage of girls in reading and literature has also been proven to be a factor explaining why young women are more likely to pursue university degrees in non-STEM fields (Aucejo and James 2019, Breda et al. 2019).
Our goal with this project is to contribute to the discipline’s literature through an exploration of the role of cognitive abilities (verbal and quantitative), non-cognitive (or soft, socio-emotional) skills, and parental investment in explaining gender differences in the development of human capital.
Our analysis with combine the study of a millennial cohort with national student data, which will provide us with a more complete picture of gender differences in skill accumulation.
In so going, we will complement a literature that has tended to use sources discretely and will focus our work on subsets of skills and abilities: Aucejo and James (2019) researched quantitative and verbal skills and their role in university attendance; Moroni et coll. (2019) studied the socio-emotional abilities of children aged 6-11 and Del Bono et al. (2016) only considered the socio-emotional and verbal abilities of children up to the age of seven.