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Gender Differences in Completed Schooling

  • Kerwin Kofi Charles
  • Ming-Ching Luoh

This paper summarizes the dramatic changes in relative male-females educational attainment over the past three decades. Stock measures of education among the entire adult population show rising attainment levels for both men and women, with men enjoying an advantage in schooling levels throughout this interval. Cohort specific analysis reveals that these stock measures mask two interesting patterns: (a) gender difference at the cohort level had vanished by the early 1950 birth cohort and reversed sign ever since; (b) for several cohorts, attainment rates were flat for women and flat and falling for men. This last is puzzling in the face of the large college premia that these cohorts observed when making their schooling choices. We present a simple human capital model showing how the anticipated dispersion of future wages should affect educational investment and find that a model which includes measures of future earnings dispersion fits the data for relative schooling patterns quite well.

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File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w9028.pdf
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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 9028.

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Date of creation: Jun 2002
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Publication status: published as Charles, Kerwin Kofi and Ming-Ching Luoh. "Gender Differences In Completed Schooling," Review of Economics and Statistics, 2003, v85(3,Aug), 559-577.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:9028
Note: LS
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  1. Jeff Dominitz & Charles F. Manski, 1996. "Eliciting Student Expectations of the Returns to Schooling," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 31(1), pages 1-26.
  2. F. Thomas Juster, 1966. "Consumer Buying Intentions and Purchase Probability: An Experiment in Survey Design," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number just66-2, October.
  3. Claudia Goldin & Lawrence F. Katz, 2002. "The Power of the Pill: Oral Contraceptives and Women's Career and Marriage Decisions," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 110(4), pages 730-770, August.
  4. Flinn, Christopher J., 1991. "Cohort Size and Schooling Choice," Working Papers 91-40, C.V. Starr Center for Applied Economics, New York University.
  5. Willis, Robert J & Rosen, Sherwin, 1979. "Education and Self-Selection," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 87(5), pages S7-36, October.
  6. Averett, Susan L. & Burton, Mark L., 1996. "College attendance and the college wage premium: Differences by gender," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 15(1), pages 37-49, February.
  7. Stapleton, David C & Young, Douglas J, 1988. "Educational Attainment and Cohort Size," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 6(3), pages 330-61, July.
  8. Rachel Connelly, 1986. "A Framework for Analyzing the Impact of Cohort Size on Education and Labor Earning," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 21(4), pages 543-562.
  9. Altonji, Joseph G, 1993. "The Demand for and Return to Education When Education Outcomes Are Uncertain," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 11(1), pages 48-83, January.
  10. Dominic J. Brewer & Eric Eide & Ronald G. Ehrenberg, 1996. "Does It Pay To Attend An Elite Private College? Cross Cohort Evidence on the Effects of College Quality on Earnings," NBER Working Papers 5613, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Caroline M. Hoxby & Bridget Terry, 1999. "Explaining Rising Income and wage Inequality Among the College Educated," NBER Working Papers 6873, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Loury, Linda Datcher & Garman, David, 1995. "College Selectivity and Earnings," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 13(2), pages 289-308, April.
  13. Juhn, Chinhui & Murphy, Kevin M & Pierce, Brooks, 1993. "Wage Inequality and the Rise in Returns to Skill," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 101(3), pages 410-42, June.
  14. Gould, Eric D & Moav, Omer & Weinberg, Bruce A, 2001. " Precautionary Demand for Education, Inequality, and Technological Progress," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 6(4), pages 285-315, December.
  15. Dominic J. Brewer & Eric R. Eide & Ronald G. Ehrenberg, 1999. "Does It Pay to Attend an Elite Private College? Cross-Cohort Evidence on the Effects of College Type on Earnings," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 34(1), pages 104-123.
  16. Thomas J. Kane & Cecilia Elena Rouse, 1999. "The Community College: Educating Students at the Margin between College and Work," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 13(1), pages 63-84, Winter.
  17. David Card & Thomas Lemieux, 2001. "Can Falling Supply Explain The Rising Return To College For Younger Men? A Cohort-Based Analysis," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 116(2), pages 705-746, May.
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