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A, B, or C? Question Format and the Gender Gap in Financial Literacy

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  • Maddalena Davoli

Abstract

Financial literacy surveys, composed primarily of multiple-choice questions, consistently show women having lower financial knowledge than men. The education science literature finds that gender bias is inherent in multiple-choice testing. Using data from PISA 2015, this paper investigates the differential gender effect of question formats on students' financial literacy assessments. This paper, employing data from PISA 2015, analyzes the differential gender effect of question formats on students' financial literacy assessment. Having answers to both multiple-choice and open-response questions for each student, we employ a panel specification and use within-student variation while controlling for students' fixed characteristics. Findings show female students performing worse when answering multiple-choice questions with no observable difference for the open-response format. Robustness tests indicate that the question characteristics underlying the multiple-choice format partly drive the results. I show how school policies aimed at training students for the multiple-choice format may help close the gender gap.

Suggested Citation

  • Maddalena Davoli, 2023. "A, B, or C? Question Format and the Gender Gap in Financial Literacy," Economics of Education Working Paper Series 0206, University of Zurich, Department of Business Administration (IBW).
  • Handle: RePEc:iso:educat:0206
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    gender gaps; financial literacy; PISA; question format; within-student estimate;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • I21 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Analysis of Education
    • I24 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Education and Inequality
    • J16 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Gender; Non-labor Discrimination
    • G53 - Financial Economics - - Household Finance - - - Financial Literacy
    • D91 - Microeconomics - - Micro-Based Behavioral Economics - - - Role and Effects of Psychological, Emotional, Social, and Cognitive Factors on Decision Making

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