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Decomposing the Gender Gap in Cognitive Skills in a Poor Rural Economy


  • Harold Alderman
  • Jere R. Behrman
  • David R. Ross
  • Richard Sabot


Girls lag markedly behind boys in education in many developing countries, which may slow economic growth and increase inequity. This paper uses indicators of the output of the education production process, cognitive skills, to characterize and to investigate the determinants of the large educational gender gap in rural Pakistan. Local school availability accounts for about a third of the total cognitive achievement gender gap and over two-fifths of that in numeracy, which implies that policies that increased local school availability for girls could reduce substantially the gender gaps in cognitive skills. To further reduce these gender gaps will require policies that focus on the demand side of the market, where, our results suggest, the response to modest changes in incentives may be high.

Suggested Citation

  • Harold Alderman & Jere R. Behrman & David R. Ross & Richard Sabot, 1996. "Decomposing the Gender Gap in Cognitive Skills in a Poor Rural Economy," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 31(1), pages 229-254.
  • Handle: RePEc:uwp:jhriss:v:31:y:1996:i:1:p:229-254

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