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Gender Differences in Educational Attainment: Evidence on the Role of Tracking from a Finnish Quasi-experiment

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  • Tuomas Pekkarinen

Abstract

In this paper we study the relationship between the timing of tracking of pupils into vocational and academic secondary education and gender differences in educational attainment and income. It is argued that in a comprehensive system, where students are tracked into vocational and academic schools relatively late (age 15-16), girls are more likely to choose the academic track than boys. We exploit the Finnish comprehensive school reform of the 1970s to analyse this hypothesis. This changed the Finnish school system from a selective to a comprehensive structure and postponed tracking from the age of 10-11 to 15-16. Since the reform was not implemented at the same time throughout the country, we can observe members of the same cohorts under both systems. The shift to a comprehensive system was found to increase gender differences in the probability of choosing an academic secondary education and of continuing onto academic tertiary education. Moreover, the reform decreased the gender wage gap in adult income by four percentage points. Copyright © The editors of the "Scandinavian Journal of Economics" 2008 .

Suggested Citation

  • Tuomas Pekkarinen, 2008. "Gender Differences in Educational Attainment: Evidence on the Role of Tracking from a Finnish Quasi-experiment," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 110(4), pages 807-825, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:scandj:v:110:y:2008:i:4:p:807-825
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    8. William L. Parish & Robert J. Willis, 1993. "Daughters, Education, and Family Budgets Taiwan Experiences," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 28(4), pages 863-898.
    9. Deolalikar, A.B., 1993. "gender Differences in the Returns to School Enrollment rates in Indonesia," Discussion Papers in Economics at the University of Washington 93-04, Department of Economics at the University of Washington.
    10. Simon Burgess & Brendon McConnell & Carol Propper & Deborah Wilson, 2004. "Girls Rock, Boys Roll: An Analysis of the Age 14-16 Gender Gap in English Schools," Scottish Journal of Political Economy, Scottish Economic Society, vol. 51(2), pages 209-229, May.
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    Cited by:

    1. Bertrand, Marianne, 2011. "New Perspectives on Gender," Handbook of Labor Economics, Elsevier.
    2. Helmut Rainer & Geethanjali Selvaretnam & David Ulph, 2011. "Assisted reproductive technologies (ART) in a model of fertility choice," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 24(3), pages 1101-1132, July.
    3. Peter van den Besselaar & Ulf Sandström, 2016. "Gender differences in research performance and its impact on careers: a longitudinal case study," Scientometrics, Springer;Akadémiai Kiadó, vol. 106(1), pages 143-162, January.
    4. Bastian Ravesteijn & Hans van Kippersluis & Mauricio Avendano & Pekka Martikainen & Hannu Vessari & Eddy van Doorslaer, 2017. "The Impact of Later Tracking on Mortality by Parental Income in Finland," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 17-030/V, Tinbergen Institute.
    5. Francesconi, Marco & Parey, Matthias, 2018. "Early Gender Gaps Among University Graduates," CEPR Discussion Papers 12754, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    6. Riphahn & Caroline Schwientek, 2015. "What drives the reversal of the gender education gap? Evidence from Germany," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 47(53), pages 5748-5775, November.
    7. Krause-Pilatus, Annabelle & Schüller, Simone, 2014. "Evidence and Persistence of Education Inequality in an Early-Tracking System: The German Case," IZA Discussion Papers 8545, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    8. Korthals Roxanne, 2012. "Selection and Tracking in Secondary Education; A cross country analysis of student performance and educational opportunities," Research Memorandum 050, Maastricht University, Maastricht Research School of Economics of Technology and Organization (METEOR).
    9. Naci Mocan & Luiza Pogorelova, 2014. "Compulsory Schooling Laws and Formation of Beliefs: Education, Religion and Superstition," NBER Working Papers 20557, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    10. repec:spr:scient:v:93:y:2012:i:3:d:10.1007_s11192-012-0712-y is not listed on IDEAS
    11. Naci Mocan & Luiza Pogorelova, 2014. "Compulsory Schooling Laws and Formation of Beliefs: Education, Religion and Superstition," Koç University-TUSIAD Economic Research Forum Working Papers 1423, Koc University-TUSIAD Economic Research Forum.
    12. Mocan, Naci & Pogorelova, Luiza, 2014. "Compulsory Schooling Laws and Formation of Beliefs: Education, Religion and Superstition," IZA Discussion Papers 8698, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    13. Pekkarinen, Tuomas, 2012. "Gender Differences in Education," IZA Discussion Papers 6390, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    14. Maciej Jakubowski, 2015. "Latent variables and propensity score matching: a simulation study with application to data from the Programme for International Student Assessment in Poland," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 48(3), pages 1287-1325, May.

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