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An analysis of the gender composition of the consumer economics major over time: a case study of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

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Title: An analysis of the gender composition of the consumer economics major over time: a case study of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Author(s): Cott, Megan
Advisor(s): Beller, Andrea H.
Department / Program: Agr & Consumer Economics
Discipline: Agr & Consumer Economics
Degree Granting Institution: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Degree: M.S.
Genre: Thesis
Subject(s): consumer economics college major gender economics major women in consumer economics
Abstract: Dramatic declines in the percent women in the Consumer Economics (CE) major at the University of Illinois – Urbana, from primarily female to primarily male after a merger with the Agricultural Economics Department, inspired an empirical study to document and explain the decline. Using aggregate national data on Bachelor’s degrees awarded, and detailed data from 1982 through 2008 on all students who were ever CE majors from the campus’ Division of Management Information, we found that national trends of women in economics explains only a small portion of the decline, and gender composition of transfers into or out of the major is not the source either. We also found that the merger played a significant role in the decline in the share of female CE majors at the University, as well as the 1997 change of the major name to include the word “Finance”. Additionally, a likely source may come from changes in the gender composition of the freshman applicant pool. After a descriptive analysis, we estimate a regression model on the time series of interest. Additionally, we design recommendations on how to restore gender diversity to the CE major by addressing recruitment efforts with the goals of strengthening the learning environment for all students in the major and maintaining its overall enrollment. Success of any ensuing efforts can be measured by arresting the decline in percent female in the major, and, by steady enrollment.
Issue Date: 2012-09-18
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/2142/34200
Rights Information: Copyright 2012 Megan Cott
Date Available in IDEALS: 2012-09-18
Date Deposited: 2012-08
 

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