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" Math Skills, Perceptions of Fit, and Occupational Choice "

The abstract is : We study how beliefs about math skills and fit affect occupational choice among Swiss students who are about to apply to apprenticeships. Although there is no gender difference in math skills, we document a substantial gender gap in preferences and search for math-intensive apprenticeships. We conduct a field experiment that randomizes the provision of gender-specific information on math ability and fit in gender-incongruent occupations. The intervention increases both boys’ and girls’ perceptions of fit in gender-incongruent occupations by 0.09-0.16 standard deviations. Furthermore, it increases boys’ (girls’) probability of searching for information about any gender-incongruent occupation over the following two weeks by 46 (34) percent and leads to an increase in their plans to apply for trial apprenticeships and/or apprenticeships in these occupations. Thus, the intervention broadens both boys’ and girls’ occupational search in the medium run. Later this year, we will link our survey data to administrative data from the largest apprenticeship application website to evaluate whether the intervention has effects on occupational choice.