Graduation Year

Fall 2013

Document Type

Campus Only Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts

Department

Economics

Reader 1

Heather Antecol

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© 2013 Helen Liu

Abstract

Labor economists have persistently observed a gender gap in both wages and employment within the STEM fields. The prevalence of sexism and the lack of female representation within the technology industry, in particular, has recently been the subject of much media attention. This study seeks to determine the extent of the wage and employment gender gap in this field by examining the labor market outcomes of people who graduated college with a degree in computer science. Using data from the American Community Survey (2009-2011), I compare the aforementioned gender gaps among people with a computer science degree to those among people with a male-dominated, female-dominated, or gender-mixed degree. I also attempt to ascertain if there is an age cohort effect on these gender gaps. I find that, for almost all labor market outcomes, the gender gap among those with a computer science degree is smaller than the gender gap among those with another degree. Furthermore, I find that the gender disparity for those with a computer science degree improves across age cohorts. I thus conclude that women who choose to pursue a degree in computer science actually experience greater equality in terms of wages and employment relative to women who choose to pursue a degree in another area of study. This may be attributed to the high workplace flexibility offered to those working in computer science occupations.

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