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On the origins of gender gaps in human capital: Short- and long-term consequences of teachers' biases

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  • Lavy, Victor
  • Sand, Edith

Abstract

We estimate the effect of primary school teachers' gender biases on boys' and girls' academic achievements during middle and high school and on the choice of advanced level courses in math and sciences during high school in Tel-Aviv, Israel. We measure bias using class-gender differences in scores between school exams graded by teachers and national exams graded blindly by external examiners. For identification, we rely on the random assignment of teachers and students to classes in primary schools. Our results suggest that assignment to a teacher with a greater bias in favor of girls (boys) has positive effects on girls' (boys') achievements. Such gender biases have also positive impact on girls' (boys') enrollment in advanced level math courses in high school. These results suggest that teachers' biased behavior at early stages of schooling has long run implications for occupational choices and earnings at adulthood, because enrollment in advanced courses in math and science in high school is a prerequisite for post-secondary schooling in engineering, computer science and so on.

Suggested Citation

  • Lavy, Victor & Sand, Edith, 2018. "On the origins of gender gaps in human capital: Short- and long-term consequences of teachers' biases," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 167(C), pages 263-279.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:pubeco:v:167:y:2018:i:c:p:263-279
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jpubeco.2018.09.007
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