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The Gender Gap in Secondary School Mathematics at High Achievement Levels: Evidence from the American Mathematics Competitions

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  • Glenn Ellison
  • Ashley Swanson

Abstract

This paper uses a new data source, American Mathematics Competitions, to examine the gender gap among high school students at very high achievement levels. The data bring out several new facts. There is a large gender gap that widens dramatically at percentiles above those that can be examined using standard data sources. An analysis of unobserved heterogeneity indicates that there is only moderate variation in the gender gap across schools. The highest achieving girls in the U.S. are concentrated in a very small set of elite schools, suggesting that almost all girls with the ability to reach high math achievement levels are not doing so.

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File URL: http://www.aeaweb.org/articles.php?doi=10.1257/jep.24.2.109
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File URL: http://www.aeaweb.org/jep/app/2402_Ellison_appendix.pdf
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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by American Economic Association in its journal Journal of Economic Perspectives.

Volume (Year): 24 (2010)
Issue (Month): 2 (Spring)
Pages: 109-28

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Handle: RePEc:aea:jecper:v:24:y:2010:i:2:p:109-28

Note: DOI: 10.1257/jep.24.2.109
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References

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  1. Francine D. Blau & Lawrence M. Kahn, 2000. "Gender Differences in Pay," NBER Working Papers 7732, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Glenn Ellison & Ashley Swanson, 2009. "The Gender Gap in Secondary School Mathematics at High Achievement Levels: Evidence from the American Mathematics Competitions," NBER Working Papers 15238, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Eric P. Bettinger & Bridget Terry Long, 2005. "Do Faculty Serve as Role Models? The Impact of Instructor Gender on Female Students," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(2), pages 152-157, May.
  4. Brown, Charles & Corcoran, Mary, 1997. "Sex-Based Differences in School Content and the Male-Female Wage Gap," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 15(3), pages 431-65, July.
  5. Roland G. Fryer, Jr & Steven D. Levitt, 2009. "An Empirical Analysis of the Gender Gap in Mathematics," NBER Working Papers 15430, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Paglin, Morton & Rufolo, Anthony M, 1990. "Heterogeneous Human Capital, Occupational Choice, and Male-Female Earnings Differences," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 8(1), pages 123-44, January.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Victor Lavy & Olmo Silva & Felix Weinhardt, 2009. "The Good, the Bad and the Average: Evidence on the Scale and Nature of Ability Peer Effects in Schools," NBER Working Papers 15600, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Glenn Ellison & Ashley Swanson, 2012. "Heterogeneity in High Math Achievement Across Schools: Evidence from the American Mathematics Competition," CESifo Working Paper Series 3903, CESifo Group Munich.
  3. Glenn Ellison & Ashley Swanson, 2010. "The Gender Gap in Secondary School Mathematics at High Achievement Levels: Evidence from the American Mathematics Competitions," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 24(2), pages 109-28, Spring.
  4. Wiswall, Matthew & Stiefel, Leanna & Schwartz, Amy Ellen & Boccardo, Jessica, 2014. "Does attending a STEM high school improve student performance? Evidence from New York City," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 40(C), pages 93-105.
  5. Aedin Doris & Donal O'Neill & Olive Sweetman, 2012. "Gender, Single-Sex Schooling and Maths Achievement," Economics, Finance and Accounting Department Working Paper Series n224-12.pdf, Department of Economics, Finance and Accounting, National University of Ireland - Maynooth.
  6. Andy Dickerson & Steven McIntosh & Christine Valente, . "Do The Maths: An Analysis Of The Gender Gap In Mathematics In AfricaAbstract: This paper uses microdata for 19 African countries to examine the gender difference in maths test scores amongst primary s," The Centre for Market and Public Organisation 13/300, Department of Economics, University of Bristol, UK.
  7. Dickerson, Andy & McIntosh, Steven & Valente, Christine, 2013. "Do the Maths: An Analysis of the Gender Gap in Mathematics in Africa," IZA Discussion Papers 7174, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  8. Louis-Philippe Morin, 2013. "Do Men and Women Respond Differently to Competition? Evidence from a Major Education Reform," Working Papers E1305E, University of Ottawa, Department of Economics.
  9. Prashant Bharadwaj & Giacomo De Giorgi & David Hansen & Christopher Neilson, 2012. "The Gender Gap in Mathematics: Evidence from Low- and Middle-Income Countries," NBER Working Papers 18464, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Glenn Ellison & Ashley Swanson, 2012. "Heterogeneity in High Math Achievement Across Schools: Evidence from the American Mathematics Competitions," NBER Working Papers 18277, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. repec:hig:wpaper:11edu2013 is not listed on IDEAS
  12. Golsteyn, Bart H.H. & Schils, Trudie, 2014. "Gender Gaps in Primary School Achievement: A Decomposition into Endowments and Returns to IQ and Non-cognitive Factors," IZA Discussion Papers 8201, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).

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