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The Timing of Puberty and Gender Differences in Educational Achievement

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  • Koerselman, Kristian

    () (University of Jyväskylä)

  • Pekkarinen, Tuomas

    () (VATT, Helsinki)

Abstract

In this paper, we study the effect of the timing of puberty on educational achievement and examine to what extent the gender differences in the timing of puberty can explain gender differences in achievement. We use British cohort data that combine information on pubertal development with test scores, behavioral outcomes as well as final educational attainment and earnings. Controlling for age 7 cognitive skills and family background, we show that late pubertal development is associated with a slower rate of cognitive skill growth during adolescence. This disadvantage in cognitive development is also reflected in lower levels of educational attainment and earnings for late developed individuals. The number of late developing boys is however too small to explain more than a fraction of the gender gap in educational outcomes. Furthermore, we find no effects on self-discipline or other behavioral outcomes in adolescence, suggesting a mechanism wholly separate from other causes of the gender gap.

Suggested Citation

  • Koerselman, Kristian & Pekkarinen, Tuomas, 2017. "The Timing of Puberty and Gender Differences in Educational Achievement," IZA Discussion Papers 10889, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp10889
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. 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.
    2. 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.
    3. Dreber, Anna & von Essen, Emma & Ranehill, Eva, 2011. "Age at pubertal onset and educational outcomes," Research Papers in Economics 2011:26, Stockholm University, Department of Economics.
    4. Anne Case & Christina Paxson, 2008. "Stature and Status: Height, Ability, and Labor Market Outcomes," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 116(3), pages 499-532, June.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    education; gender; adolescence; puberty; cognitive skills; non-cognitive skills; attainment; earnings;

    JEL classification:

    • I20 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - General
    • J16 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Gender; Non-labor Discrimination

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