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Born in the Family: Preferences for Boys and the Gender Gap in Math

Author

Listed:
  • Dossi, Gaia

    (London School of Economics)

  • Figlio, David N.

    (Northwestern University)

  • Giuliano, Paola

    (University of California, Los Angeles)

  • Sapienza, Paola

    (Northwestern University)

Abstract

We study the correlation between parental gender attitudes and the performance in mathematics of girls using two different approaches and data. First, we identify families with a preference for boys by using fertility stopping rules in a population of households whose children attend public schools in Florida. Girls growing up in a boy-biased family score 3 percentage points lower on math tests when compared to girls raised in other families. Second, we find similar strong effects when we study the correlations between girls' performance in mathematics and maternal gender role attitudes, using evidence from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth. We conclude that socialization at home can explain a non-trivial part of the observed gender disparities in mathematics performance and document that maternal gender attitudes correlate with those of their children, supporting the hypothesis that preferences transmitted through the family impact children behavior.

Suggested Citation

  • Dossi, Gaia & Figlio, David N. & Giuliano, Paola & Sapienza, Paola, 2019. "Born in the Family: Preferences for Boys and the Gender Gap in Math," IZA Discussion Papers 12156, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp12156
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Blog mentions

    As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
    1. Born in the Family: Preferences for Boys and the Gender Gap in Math
      by maximorossi in NEP-LTV blog on 2019-03-27 14:35:07

    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Delaney, Judith & Devereux, Paul J., 2019. "It's Not Just for Boys! Understanding Gender Differences in STEM," IZA Discussion Papers 12176, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    2. Katharina Heisig, 2019. "Vom Sinn einer geschlechtsneutralen Erziehung und Bildung," ifo Dresden berichtet, ifo Institute - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich, vol. 27(02), pages 12-16, April.
    3. D'Acunto, Francesco & Malmendier, Ulrike M. & Weber, Michael, 2020. "Gender Roles and the Gender Expectations Gap," CEPR Discussion Papers 14932, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    4. Gaia Dossi & David Figlio & Paola Giuliano & Paola Sapienza, 2021. "The Family Origin of the Math Gender Gap Is a White Affluent Phenomenon," AEA Papers and Proceedings, American Economic Association, vol. 111, pages 179-183, May.
    5. Salland, Jan, 2021. "Income Comparison and Happiness within Households," Working Paper 191/2021, Helmut Schmidt University, Hamburg.
    6. Maria Laura Di Tommaso & Dalit Contini & Dalila De Rosa & Francesca Ferrara & Daniela Piazzalunga & Ornella Robutti, 2021. "Tackling the gender gap in mathematics with active learning methodologies," Carlo Alberto Notebooks 657, Collegio Carlo Alberto.
    7. Wang, Haining & Cheng, Zhiming, 2021. "Mama loves you: The gender wage gap and expenditure on children's education in China," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 188(C), pages 1015-1034.
    8. Zichen Deng & Maarten Lindeboom, 2020. "A Bit of Salt a Trace of Life - Gender Norms and The Impact of a Salt Iodization Program on Human Capital Formation of School Aged Children," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 20-067/V, Tinbergen Institute.
    9. Nolan, Anne & Whelan, Adele & McGuinness, Seamus & Maître, Bertrand, 2019. "Gender, pensions and income in retirement," Research Series, Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI), number RS87.
    10. Deng, Zichen & Lindeboom, Maarten, 2019. "A Bit of Salt, a Trace of Life: Gender Norms and the Impact of a Salt Iodization Program on Human Capital Formation of School Aged Children," IZA Discussion Papers 12629, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    11. Di Tommaso, Maria Laura & Contini, Dalit & De Rosa, Dalila & Piazzalunga, Daniela, 2020. "Tackling the Gender Gap in Math with Active Learning Teaching Practices," Department of Economics and Statistics Cognetti de Martiis. Working Papers 202016, University of Turin.
    12. Bordón, Paola & Canals, Catalina & Mizala, Alejandra, 2020. "The gender gap in college major choice in Chile," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 77(C).
    13. Peter Siminski & Rhiannon Yetsenga, 2020. "Rethinking Specialization and the Sexual Division of Labor in the 21st Century," Working Paper Series 2020/04, Economics Discipline Group, UTS Business School, University of Technology, Sydney.
    14. Delaney, Judith & Devereux, Paul J., 2019. "Understanding Gender Differences in STEM: Evidence from College Applications," CEPR Discussion Papers 13558, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    15. Zichen Deng & Maarten Lindeboom, 2021. "A Bit of Salt, A Trace of Life: Gender Norms and The Impact of a Salt Iodization Program on Human Capital Formation of School Aged Children," Papers 2021-01, Centre for Health Economics, Monash University.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    gender Differences; cultural transmission; math performance;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • A13 - General Economics and Teaching - - General Economics - - - Relation of Economics to Social Values
    • I20 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - General
    • J16 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Gender; Non-labor Discrimination
    • Z1 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics

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