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The college gender gap reversal

Listed author(s):
  • Reijnders, L.S.M.

    (Groningen University)

Why have women surpassed men in terms of educational attainment, even though they appear to have less incentives to go to college? The aim of this paper is to set up a basic theoretical life-cycle model in order to study the potential role of gender differences in the benefit of education in explaining the college gender gap reversal. Its main contribution is to show under which conditions the model can generate a reversal in college graduation rates, and to highlight the importance of the curvature of the utility function and the presence of subsistence constraints in this respect. In particular, I show that the labour market benefit of education for women can be higher than for men even if they have the same college wage premium if the elasticity of the marginal utility of wealth is greater than unity or there are fixed costs. Initially this might be dominated by a lower marriage market return, but a decrease in the probability of marriage can induce women to overtake men in educational attainment.

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File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/11370/0fd160d2-ed20-41cf-bac0-65e76252d3b5
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Paper provided by University of Groningen, Research Institute SOM (Systems, Organisations and Management) in its series Research Report with number 14006-EEF.

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Date of creation: 2014
Handle: RePEc:gro:rugsom:14006-eef
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  1. 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.
  2. Raquel Fernández & Nezih Guner & John Knowles, 2005. "Love and Money: A Theoretical and Empirical Analysis of Household Sorting and Inequality," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 120(1), pages 273-344.
  3. Stephen B. Jarrell & T. D. Stanley, 2004. "Declining Bias and Gender Wage Discrimination? A Meta-Regression Analysis," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 39(3).
  4. Raquel Fernández & Richard Rogerson, 2001. "Sorting and Long-Run Inequality," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 116(4), pages 1305-1341.
  5. Pierre-André Chiappori & Murat Iyigun & Yoram Weiss, 2009. "Investment in Schooling and the Marriage Market," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 99(5), pages 1689-1713, December.
  6. Christopher Dougherty, 2005. "Why Are the Returns to Schooling Higher for Women than for Men?," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 40(4), pages 969-988.
  7. Brian A. Jacob, 2002. "Where the boys aren't: Non-cognitive skills, returns to school and the gender gap in higher education," NBER Working Papers 8964, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Thomas Diprete & Claudia Buchmann, 2006. "Gender-specific trends in the value of education and the emerging gender gap in college completion," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 43(1), pages 1-24, February.
  9. Jacob, Brian A., 2002. "Where the boys aren't: non-cognitive skills, returns to school and the gender gap in higher education," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 21(6), pages 589-598, December.
  10. Gary S. Becker & William H. J. Hubbard & Kevin M. Murphy, 2010. "Explaining the Worldwide Boom in Higher Education of Women," Journal of Human Capital, University of Chicago Press, vol. 4(3), pages 203-241.
  11. 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.
  12. Chiappori, Pierre-Andre, 1992. "Collective Labor Supply and Welfare," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 100(3), pages 437-467, June.
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