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Gender Gaps in Primary School Achievement: A Decomposition into Endowments and Returns to IQ and Non-cognitive Factors

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  • Golsteyn, Bart H.H.

    () (Maastricht University)

  • Schils, Trudie

    () (Maastricht University)

Abstract

In elementary school, girls typically outperform boys in languages and boys typically outperform girls in math. The determinants of these differences have remained largely unexplored. Using rich data from Dutch elementary schools, we decompose the differences in achievement into gender differences in endowments and returns to IQ and non-cognitive factors. This descriptive analysis is a thought experiment in which we show the consequences for school performance if girls and boys would have similar resources and take similar advantage of these resources. Our findings indicate that gender differences in resources with respect to social and instrumental skills and need for achievement can explain part of the differences in performance. Boys seem to be better equipped with these resources. Additionally, boys and girls employ their skills differently. Girls take more advantage of their IQ than boys. Yet, the largest part of this parameter effect is left unexplained by IQ and non-cognitive factors.

Suggested Citation

  • Golsteyn, Bart H.H. & Schils, Trudie, 2014. "Gender Gaps in Primary School Achievement: A Decomposition into Endowments and Returns to IQ and Non-cognitive Factors," IZA Discussion Papers 8201, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp8201
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    5. Christopher Cornwell & David B. Mustard & Jessica Van Parys, 2013. "Noncognitive Skills and the Gender Disparities in Test Scores and Teacher Assessments: Evidence from Primary School," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 48(1), pages 236-264.
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    10. Tansel, Aysit, 2002. "Determinants of school attainment of boys and girls in Turkey: individual, household and community factors," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 21(5), pages 455-470, October.
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    Cited by:

    1. Eva Feron & Trudie Schils & Bas ter Weel, 2016. "Does the Teacher Beat the Test? The Value of the Teacher’s Assessment in Predicting Student Ability," De Economist, Springer, vol. 164(4), pages 391-418, December.
    2. Feron, Eva & Schils, Trudie & ter Weel, Bas, 2015. "Does the Teacher Beat the Test? The Additional Value of Teacher Assessment in Predicting Student Ability," IZA Discussion Papers 8768, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    3. KatharinaHeisig, 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.
    4. Ha Trong Nguyen, 2015. "The evolution of the gender test score gap through seventh grade: New insights from Australia using quantile regression and decomposition," Bankwest Curtin Economics Centre Working Paper series WP1507, Bankwest Curtin Economics Centre (BCEC), Curtin Business School.
    5. Huong Thu Le & Ha Trong Nguyen, 2018. "The evolution of the gender test score gap through seventh grade: new insights from Australia using unconditional quantile regression and decomposition," IZA Journal of Labor Economics, Springer;Forschungsinstitut zur Zukunft der Arbeit GmbH (IZA), vol. 7(1), pages 1-42, December.
    6. Feron, Eva & Schils, Trudie & ter Weel, Bas, 2015. "Does the Teacher Beat the Test? The Additional Value of Teacher Assessment in Predicting Student Ability," IZA Discussion Papers 8768, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    7. Sule Alan & Seda Ertac & Elif Kubilay & Gyongyi Loranth, 2020. "Understanding Gender Differences in Leadership," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 130(626), pages 263-289.
    8. Wehner, Caroline & Schils, Trudie, 2019. "Educational achievement and gender differences: The role of the interaction between emotional stability and conscientiousness," Research Memorandum 021, Maastricht University, Graduate School of Business and Economics (GSBE).
    9. Elena Claudia Meroni & Giovanni Abbiati, 2014. "Gender differences in exposure to more instruction time. Evidence from Italy," Working Papers 064, "Carlo F. Dondena" Centre for Research on Social Dynamics (DONDENA), Università Commerciale Luigi Bocconi.
    10. Leonora Risse & Lisa Farrell & Tim R L Fry, 2018. "Personality and pay: do gender gaps in confidence explain gender gaps in wages?," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 70(4), pages 919-949.
    11. Bart H. H. Golsteyn & Stefa Hirsch, 2019. "Are estimates of intergenerational mobility biased by non-response? Evidence from the Netherlands," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer;The Society for Social Choice and Welfare, vol. 52(1), pages 29-63, January.
    12. Muñoz, Juan Sebastián, 2018. "The economics behind the math gender gap: Colombian evidence on the role of sample selection," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 135(C), pages 368-391.
    13. Emanuela Ghignoni, 2015. "Family background and university dropouts during the crisis: the case of Italy," Working Papers 169, University of Rome La Sapienza, Department of Public Economics.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    personality; gender; education; achievement; decomposition;

    JEL classification:

    • I21 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Analysis of Education
    • I24 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Education and Inequality

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