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Explaining the Worldwide Boom in Higher Education of Women

  • Gary S. Becker
  • William H. J. Hubbard
  • Kevin M. Murphy

The last 40 years have witnessed a remarkable boom in higher education, particularly of women. Today in most higher-income countries and many lower-income countries, more women than men complete tertiary education. We present a model of the market for college graduates in which supply is a function of the distribution of the costs and benefits of college across individuals. We find little evidence that benefits are higher for women. It appears that differences in the total costs of college for women and men—primarily differences in the distributions of noncognitive skills—explain the overtaking of men by women in higher education.

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File URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/pdfplus/10.1086/657914
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File URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/full/10.1086/657914
Download Restriction: Access to the online full text or PDF requires a subscription.

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Article provided by University of Chicago Press in its journal Journal of Human Capital.

Volume (Year): 4 (2010)
Issue (Month): 3 ()
Pages: 203 - 241

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Handle: RePEc:ucp:jhucap:doi:10.1086/657914
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.journals.uchicago.edu/JHC/

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  1. Chiappori, Pierre-André & Iyigun, Murat & Weiss, Yoram, 2006. "Investment in Schooling and the Marriage Market," IZA Discussion Papers 2454, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  2. Claudia Goldin & Lawrence F. Katz & Ilyana Kuziemko, 2006. "The Homecoming of American College Women: The Reversal of the College Gender Gap," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 20(4), pages 133-156, Fall.
  3. Wolfgang Lutz & Anne Goujon & Samir K.C. & Warren Sanderson, 2007. "Reconstruction of population by age, sex and level of educational attainment of 120 countries for 1970-2000," Vienna Yearbook of Population Research, Vienna Institute of Demography (VID) of the Austrian Academy of Sciences in Vienna, vol. 5(1), pages 193-235.
  4. Susan Dynarski, 2008. "Building the Stock of College-Educated Labor," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 43(3), pages 576-610.
  5. Jonathan Guryan & Erik Hurst & Melissa Kearney, 2008. "Parental Education and Parental Time with Children," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 22(3), pages 23-46, Summer.
  6. Thomas Diprete & Claudia Buchmann, 2006. "Gender-specific trends in the value of education and the emerging gender gap in college completion," Demography, Springer, vol. 43(1), pages 1-24, February.
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