Though women reached parity with men in terms of college attendance, fewer women choose STEM majors. We examine whether the compositional characteristics of a sib-group are associated with a younger sibling’s decision to pursue a STEM major in college. Theoretically, we conjoin and extend sociological theories that link sib-group configuration and educational attainment to STEM majoring. Empirically, we use data from the children of the NLSY79-cohort and find that sib-group size is negatively associated with pursuing a STEM major. We show that math ability of the firstborn is positively associated with a sibling’s choice of a STEM major in college, but only among same-sex siblings. Finally, number of brothers is positively associated with choosing a STEM major for both girls and boys. Our work is the first to provide evidence about the link between sib-group compositional characteristics and the choice of college major by younger siblings in the U.S.
Presented in Session 8. Economy, Labor Force, Education, & Inequality