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College Attainment of Women


  • Jose-Victor Rios-Rull

    (University of Pennsylvania)

  • Virginia Sánchez-Marcos

    (Universidad de Cantabria)


Up to the late 1970's the Sex College Attainment Ratio (SCAR), or ratio of college attainment between men and women, was about 1.6. Assortative mating within education groups in marriages is strong enough in the United States to prevent accounting for the SCAR feature based on males' higher earnings. We document the puzzling nature of the SCAR, and we explore various theories to account for it. Our main finding is that if parents' well-being is affected by the number of grandchildren, gender differences in the steepness of the negative relation between educational attainment and number of children provides the best theory to understand the SCAR. (Copyright: Elsevier)

Suggested Citation

  • Jose-Victor Rios-Rull & Virginia Sánchez-Marcos, 2002. "College Attainment of Women," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 5(4), pages 965-998, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:red:issued:v:5:y:2002:i:4:p:965-998
    DOI: 10.1006/redy.2002.0194

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Robert Haveman & Barbara Wolfe, 1995. "The Determinants of Children's Attainments: A Review of Methods and Findings," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 33(4), pages 1829-1878, December.
    2. Echevarria, Cristina & Merlo, Antonio, 1999. "Gender Differences in Education in a Dynamic Household Bargaining Model," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 40(2), pages 265-286, May.
    3. Claudia Goldin, 1992. "The Meaning of College in the Lives of American Women: The Past One-Hundred Years," NBER Working Papers 4099, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Behrman, Jere R & Pollak, Robert A & Taubman, Paul, 1986. "Do Parents Favor Boys?," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 27(1), pages 33-54, February.
    5. Jere R. Behrman & Mark R. Rosenzweig, 2002. "Does Increasing Women's Schooling Raise the Schooling of the Next Generation?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(1), pages 323-334, March.
    6. Heckman, James, 2013. "Sample selection bias as a specification error," Applied Econometrics, Publishing House "SINERGIA PRESS", vol. 31(3), pages 129-137.
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    Cited by:

    1. Gayle, George-Levi & Golan, Limor & Soytas, Mehmet A., 2015. "Estimation of Dynastic Life-Cycle Discrete Choice Models," Working Papers 2015-20, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.
    2. Mehmet Soytas & Limor Golan & George-Levi Gayle, 2014. "What Accounts for the Racial Gap in Time Allocation and Intergenerational Transmission of Human Capital?," 2014 Meeting Papers 83, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    3. Suqin Ge & Fang Yang, 2013. "Accounting For The Gender Gap In College Attainment," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 51(1), pages 478-499, January.
    4. Ximena Peña, 2006. "Assortative Matching and the Education Gap," Borradores de Economia 427, Banco de la Republica de Colombia.
    5. Yaz Terajima, 2006. "Education and Self-Employment: Changes in Earnings and Wealth Inequality," Staff Working Papers 06-40, Bank of Canada.
    6. Hui He, 2011. "Why Have Girls Gone to College? A Quantitative Examination of the Female College Enrollment Rate in the United States: 1955-1980," Annals of Economics and Finance, Society for AEF, vol. 12(1), pages 41-64, May.
    7. Raquel Fernández & Joyce C. Wong, 2014. "Divorce Risk, Wages, and Working Wives: A Quantitative Life-Cycle Analysis of Female Labor Force Participation," NBER Working Papers 19869, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. Georg-Levi Gayle & Limor Golan & Mehmet A. Soytas, "undated". "Estimating the Returns to Parental Time Investment in Children Using a Life Cycle Dynastic Model," GSIA Working Papers 2011-E18, Carnegie Mellon University, Tepper School of Business.
    9. Dussaillant, Francisca, 2011. "The intergenerational transmission of maternal human capital and the gender gap in educational attainment," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 111(3), pages 226-229, June.
    10. Siahaan, Freddy & Lee, Daniel Y. & Kalist, David E., 2014. "Educational attainment of children of immigrants: Evidence from the national longitudinal survey of youth," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 38(C), pages 1-8.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • J12 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Marriage; Marital Dissolution; Family Structure
    • J16 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Gender; Non-labor Discrimination
    • I20 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - General


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