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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.

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
    DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9442.2008.00562.x
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Bertrand, Marianne, 2011. "New Perspectives on Gender," Handbook of Labor Economics, in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.),Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 4, chapter 17, pages 1543-1590, 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. Korthals, R.A., 2012. "Selection and tracking in secondary education: a cross country analysis of student performance and educational opportunities," ROA Research Memorandum 014, Maastricht University, Research Centre for Education and the Labour Market (ROA).
    4. 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.
    5. Pleun Arensbergen & Inge van der Weijden & Peter Besselaar, 2012. "Gender differences in scientific productivity: a persisting phenomenon?," Scientometrics, Springer;Akadémiai Kiadó, vol. 93(3), pages 857-868, December.
    6. 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.
    7. Petri Böckerman & Mika Haapanen & Christopher Jepsen & Alexandra Roulet, 2019. "School Tracking and Mental Health," CESifo Working Paper Series 7927, CESifo.
    8. 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.
    9. Korthals, R.A., 2012. "Selection and tracking in secondary education: a cross country analysis of student performance and educational opportunities," ROA Research Memorandum 14, Maastricht University, Research Centre for Education and the Labour Market (ROA).
    10. 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.
    11. 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.
    12. 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.
    13. Francesconi, Marco & Parey, Matthias, 2018. "Early gender gaps among university graduates," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 109(C), pages 63-82.
    14. 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 of Labor Economics (IZA).
    15. Koerselman, Kristian & Pekkarinen, Tuomas, 2018. "Cognitive consequences of the timing of puberty," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 54(C), pages 1-13.
    16. Mocan, Naci & Pogorelova, Luiza, 2014. "Compulsory Schooling Laws and Formation of Beliefs: Education, Religion and Superstition," IZA Discussion Papers 8698, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    17. Pekkarinen, Tuomas, 2012. "Gender Differences in Education," IZA Discussion Papers 6390, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).

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