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The Gender Gap in Academic Achievements of Italian Graduates

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  • Carolina Castagnetti

    ()
    (Department of Economics and Quantitative Methods, University of Pavia)

  • Luisa Rosti

    ()
    (Department of Economics and Quantitative Methods, University of Pavia)

Abstract

We analyse the academic performance of Italian students who graduated in 2004, and their occupational status and earnings in 2007. We find that the educational and occupational performances of male and female students do differ: girls outperform boys in academic achievement, but male graduates outperform female graduates in labour market outcomes. One could wonder why female students put more effort into educational performance than male students, given that they will receive lower wages. We find a rationale for this choice in the higher marginal return that female students gain from their higher grades. We address our empirical analysis to four points: first, we show that, for the most part, the difference in educational performance is explained by the diversity in unobserved characteristics between male and female students. Second, we provide empirical evidence that the amount of effort supplied is the key determinant of the unobserved characteristics. Third, we argue that female students study hardly because they gain a higher marginal return from success in educational competition. Fourth, as this finding may be consistent with both human capital and sorting models of education, we test the hypothesis that female students use their higher grades to signal their ability to potential employers.

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File URL: http://economia.unipv.it/docs/dipeco/quad/ps/RePEc/pav/wpaper/q118.pdf
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by University of Pavia, Department of Economics and Quantitative Methods in its series Quaderni di Dipartimento with number 118.

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Length: 21 pages
Date of creation: Jul 2010
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:pav:wpaper:118

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  1. Brown, Sarah & Sessions, John G., 1999. "Education and employment status: a test of the strong screening hypothesis in Italy," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 18(4), pages 397-404, October.
  2. Smith, Jeremy & Naylor, Robin, 2001. " Determinants of Degree Performance in UK Universities: A Statistical Analysis of the 1993 Student Cohort," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 63(1), pages 29-60, February.
  3. Francine D. Blau & Lawrence M. Kahn, 2001. "Understanding International Differences in the Gender Pay Gap," NBER Working Papers 8200, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Linda Datcher Loury, 1997. "The gender gap among college-educated workers," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 50(4), pages 580-593, July.
  5. Edvard Johansson, 2000. "Self-employment and the predicted earnings differential - evidence from Finland," Finnish Economic Papers, Finnish Economic Association, vol. 13(1), pages 45-55, Spring.
  6. George Psacharopoulos & Harry Anthony Patrinos, 2004. "Returns to investment in education: a further update," Education Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 12(2), pages 111-134.
  7. Card, David, 1999. "The causal effect of education on earnings," Handbook of Labor Economics, in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 30, pages 1801-1863 Elsevier.
  8. Kunze, Astrid, 2005. "The evolution of the gender wage gap," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 12(1), pages 73-97, February.
  9. Luisa Rosti & Chikara Yamaguchi & Carolina Castagnetti, 2005. "Educational Performance as Signalling Device: Evidence from Italy," Economics Bulletin, AccessEcon, vol. 9(4), pages 1-7.
  10. Brown, Sarah & Sessions, John G, 1998. "Education, Employment Status and Earnings: A Comparative Test of the Strong Screening Hypothesis," Scottish Journal of Political Economy, Scottish Economic Society, vol. 45(5), pages 586-91, November.
  11. Jones, David R & Makepeace, Gerald H, 1996. "Equal Worth, Equal Opportunities: Pay and Promotion in an Internal Labour Market," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 106(435), pages 401-09, March.
  12. Heckman, James J, 1979. "Sample Selection Bias as a Specification Error," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 47(1), pages 153-61, January.
  13. repec:ebl:ecbull:v:9:y:2005:i:4:p:1-7 is not listed on IDEAS
  14. Christopher Dougherty, 2005. "Why Are the Returns to Schooling Higher for Women than for Men?," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 40(4), pages 969-988.
  15. Naylor, Robin & Smith, Jeremy & McKnight, Abigail, 2002. "Sheer Class? The Impact Of Degree Performance On Graduate Labour Market Outcomes," The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) 659, University of Warwick, Department of Economics.
  16. Robin Naylor & Jeremy Smith, 2004. "Degree performance of Economics students in UK universities: absolute and relative performance in prior qualifications," Scottish Journal of Political Economy, Scottish Economic Society, vol. 51(2), pages 250-265, 05.
  17. Trostel, Philip & Walker, Ian & Woolley, Paul, 2002. "Estimates of the economic return to schooling for 28 countries," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 9(1), pages 1-16, February.
  18. Wiji Arulampalam & Robin A. Naylor & Jeremy P. Smith, 2004. "A hazard model of the probability of medical school drop-out in the UK," Journal of the Royal Statistical Society Series A, Royal Statistical Society, vol. 167(1), pages 157-178.
  19. G. Boero & T. Laureti & R. Naylor, 2005. "An econometric analysis of student withdrawal and progression in post-reform Italian Universities," Working Paper CRENoS 200504, Centre for North South Economic Research, University of Cagliari and Sassari, Sardinia.
  20. McNabb, Robert & Pal, Sarmistha & Sloane, Peter, 2002. "Gender Differences in Educational Attainment: The Case of University Students in England and Wales," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 69(275), pages 481-503, August.
  21. Murnane, Richard J & Willett, John B & Levy, Frank, 1995. "The Growing Importance of Cognitive Skills in Wage Determination," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 77(2), pages 251-66, May.
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Cited by:
  1. Castagnetti, Carolina & Rosti, Luisa, 2010. "Gender stereotyping and wage discrimination among Italian graduates," MPRA Paper 26685, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  2. Carolina Castagnetti & Luisa Rosti, 2012. "Unfair tournaments: gender stereotyping and wage discrimination among Italian graduates," DEM Working Papers Series 010, University of Pavia, Department of Economics and Management.

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