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Gender Differences in Education

  • Pekkarinen, Tuomas


    (Government Institute for Economic Research, Helsinki)

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    This paper surveys the trends in gender gaps in education, their causes and potential policy implications. I show that female educational attainment has surpassed, or is about to surpass, male educational attainment in most industrialized countries. These gaps reflect male overrepresentation among secondary school drop-outs and female overrepresentation among tertiary education students and graduates. Existing evidence suggests that this pattern is a result of a combination of increasing returns to education and lower female effort costs of education. Widening gender gap in education combined with recent wage and employment polarization will likely lead to widening inequalities and is linked to declining male labor force participation. The paper discusses evidence on educational policies that both widen and reduce gender gaps in educational outcomes.

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    Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 6390.

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    Length: 40 pages
    Date of creation: Feb 2012
    Date of revision:
    Publication status: published in Nordic Economic Policy Review, 2012, 1, 165-197
    Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp6390
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    1. Fredriksson, Peter & Öckert, Björn & OOsterbeek, Hessel, 2012. "Long-term effects of class size," Working Paper Series 2012:5, IFAU - Institute for Evaluation of Labour Market and Education Policy.
    2. Claudia Goldin & Lawrence F. Katz & Ilyana Kuziemko, 2006. "The Homecoming of American College Women: The Reversal of the College Gender Gap," NBER Working Papers 12139, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Dynarski, Susan, 2005. "Building the Stock of College-Educated Labor," Working Paper Series rwp05-050, Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government.
    4. Sarah E. Turner & William G. Bowen, 1999. "Choice of major: The changing (unchanging) gender gap," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 52(2), pages 289-313, January.
    5. Tyrefors Hinnerich, Björn & Höglin, Erik & Johannesson, Magnus, 2010. "Are boys discriminated in Swedish high schools?," Working Paper Series 2010:14, IFAU - Institute for Evaluation of Labour Market and Education Policy.
    6. Philip Oreopoulos & Daniel Lang & Joshua Angrist, 2009. "Incentives and Services for College Achievement: Evidence from a Randomized Trial," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 1(1), pages 136-63, January.
    7. Barro, Robert J. & Lee, Jong Wha, 2013. "A new data set of educational attainment in the world, 1950–2010," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 104(C), pages 184-198.
    8. Brian Jacob & Jens Ludwig, 2008. "Improving Educational Outcomes for Poor Children," NBER Working Papers 14550, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    9. Victor Lavy & Analia Schlosser, 2011. "Mechanisms and Impacts of Gender Peer Effects at School," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 3(2), pages 1-33, April.
    10. Trostel, Philip & Walker, Ian & Woolley, Paul, 2002. "Estimates of the economic return to schooling for 28 countries," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 9(1), pages 1-16, February.
    11. 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.
    12. Chetty, Raj & Friedman, John Norton & Hilger, Nathanial & Saez, Emmanuel & Schanzenbach, Dianne Whitmore & Yagan, Danny, 2011. "How Does Your Kindergarten Classroom Affect Your Earnings? Evidence from Project Star," Scholarly Articles 9639983, Harvard Kennedy School of Government.
    13. Anderson, Michael L., 2008. "Multiple Inference and Gender Differences in the Effects of Early Intervention: A Reevaluation of the Abecedarian, Perry Preschool, and Early Training Projects," Journal of the American Statistical Association, American Statistical Association, vol. 103(484), pages 1481-1495.
    14. John Van Reenen, 2011. "Wage Inequality,Technology and Trade: 21st Century Evidence," CEP Occasional Papers 28, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
    15. Tuomas Pekkarinen, 2008. "Gender Differences in Educational Attainment: Evidence on the Role of Tracking from a Finnish Quasi-experiment," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 110(4), pages 807-825, December.
    16. 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.
    17. 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.
    18. Alan Krueger, 1997. "Experimental Estimates of Education Production Functions," Working Papers 758, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
    19. Sandra McNally & Stephen Machin, 2004. "The Literacy Hour," Royal Economic Society Annual Conference 2004 43, Royal Economic Society.
    20. Tarjei Havnes & Magne Mogstad, 2011. "No Child Left Behind: Subsidized Child Care and Children's Long-Run Outcomes," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 3(2), pages 97-129, May.
    21. Caroline Hoxby, 2000. "Peer Effects in the Classroom: Learning from Gender and Race Variation," NBER Working Papers 7867, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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