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DT 05 - 24 Gendered Impacts of COVID-19 on University Enrollment and Major Choices

The COVID-19 pandemic affected people’s lives in several domains. This study provides evidence of the pandemic’s gendered effects on university enrollment and major choices. Using novel administrative records of university students in Uruguay, we conduct a counterfactual exercise that demonstrates a negative correlation between the COVID-19 pandemic and university enrollment. Heterogeneities across fields reveal a positive effect on enrollment in Social Sciences, yet null or even negative effects in Health and Science. These results are driven by male students. For women, we observe an increase in enrollment, particularly in Science. Notably, women are more likely to opt for Science-related majors over Social Sciences. Our results suggest that the recent crisis helped reduce the gender gap in major choice.