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Gender Gaps in PISA Test Scores: The Impact of Social Norms and the Mother's Transmission of Role Attitudes

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  • González de San Román, Ainara

    ()
    (University of the Basque Country)

  • de la Rica, Sara

    ()
    (University of the Basque Country)

Abstract

The existence of gender gaps in test scores has been documented in the relevant literature for a wide range of countries. In particular, the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) conducted by the OECD over the past ten years reveals that on average female students underperform (outperform) males in maths (reading) test scores in most of the countries that take part in the evaluation programme. We find that differences in culture and social norms across countries and across regions within the same country are crucial determinants in understanding gender differences in PISA 2009 test scores: girls perform relatively better in both maths and reading in societies where gender equality is enhanced, and the effect varies over the distribution of scores. In addition, we find substantial evidence for the intergenerational transmission of gender role attitudes, especially from mothers to daughters, as the performance of girls – not that of boys, is better in families where the mother works outside home.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 6338.

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Length: 31 pages
Date of creation: Feb 2012
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp6338

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Related research

Keywords: PISA; test scores; achievement; gender differences; culture; role attitudes; intergenerational transmission;

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  1. Torberg Falch & Justina AV Fischer, 2008. "Public sector decentralization and school performance: International evidence," Working Paper Series 9508, Department of Economics, Norwegian University of Science and Technology.
  2. Ciccone, Antonio & Garcia-Fontes, Walter, 2009. "The quality of the Catalan and Spanish education systems: A perspective from PISA," IESE Research Papers D/810, IESE Business School.
  3. Thomas Fuchs & Ludger Woessmann, 2004. "What Accounts for International Differences in Student Performance? A Re-examination using PISA Data," Econometric Society 2004 Australasian Meetings 274, Econometric Society.
  4. Massimiliano Bratti & Daniele Checchi & Antonio Filippin, 2007. "Geographical Differences in Italian Students' Mathematical Competencies: Evidence from Pisa 2003," Giornale degli Economisti, GDE (Giornale degli Economisti e Annali di Economia), Bocconi University, vol. 66(3), pages 299-333, November.
  5. Raquel Fernández & Alessandra Fogli & Claudia Olivetti, 2004. "Mothers and Sons: Preference Formation and Female Labor Force Dynamics," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 119(4), pages 1249-1299, November.
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