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Gender gaps in the effects of childhood family environment: Do they persist into adulthood?

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  • Brenøe, Anne Ardila
  • Lundberg, Shelly

Abstract

We examine the differential effects of family disadvantage on the education and adult labor market outcomes of men and women using high-quality administrative data on the entire population of Denmark born between 1966 and 1995. We link parental education and family structure during childhood to male–female and brother–sister differences in adolescent outcomes, educational attainment, and adult earnings and employment. Our results are consistent with U.S. findings that boys benefit more from an advantageous family environment than do girls in terms of grade-school outcomes. Father’s education, which has not been examined in previous studies, is particularly important for sons. However, we find a very different pattern of parental influence on adult outcomes. Gender gaps in educational attainment, employment, and earnings are increasing in maternal education, benefiting daughters. Paternal education decreases the gender gaps in educational attainment (favoring sons) and labor market outcomes (favoring daughters). We conclude that differences in the behavior of school-aged boys and girls may be poor proxies for differences in skills that drive longer-term outcomes.

Suggested Citation

  • Brenøe, Anne Ardila & Lundberg, Shelly, 2018. "Gender gaps in the effects of childhood family environment: Do they persist into adulthood?," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 109(C), pages 42-62.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:eecrev:v:109:y:2018:i:c:p:42-62
    DOI: 10.1016/j.euroecorev.2017.04.004
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Anne Ardila Brenøe & Ulf Zölitz, 2018. "Exposure to more female peers widens the gender gap in STEM participation," ECON - Working Papers 285, Department of Economics - University of Zurich.
    2. repec:eee:eecrev:v:109:y:2018:i:c:p:1-8 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Carlana, Michela & La Ferrara, Eliana & Pinotti, Paolo, 2017. "Goals and Gaps: Educational Careers of Immigrant Children," CEPR Discussion Papers 12538, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    4. Anne Ardila Brenøe, 2018. "Origins of gender norms: sibling gender composition and women's choice of occupation and partner," ECON - Working Papers 294, Department of Economics - University of Zurich.
    5. Anne (A.C.) Gielen & Esmee Zwiers, 2018. "Biology and the gender gap in educational performance - The role of prenatal testosterone in test scores," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 18-086/V, Tinbergen Institute.
    6. Roed, Marianne & Schone, Pal & Umblijs, Janis, 2018. "Local Labour Market Conditions on Immigrants' Arrival and Children's School Performance," IZA Discussion Papers 11526, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Gender gap; Parental education; Family structure; Education; Labor market outcomes;

    JEL classification:

    • I20 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - General
    • J1 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics
    • J2 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor
    • J3 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs

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