nep-gen New Economics Papers
on Gender
Issue of 2019‒08‒19
five papers chosen by
Jan Sauermann
Stockholms universitet

  1. Girls' Comparative Advantage in Reading Can Largely Account for the Gender Gap in Math-Intensive Fields By Breda, Thomas; Napp, Clotilde
  2. On the Malleability of Implicit Attitudes Towards Women Empowerment: Evidence from Tunisia By Nillesen, Eleonora; Grimm, Michael; Goedhuys, Micheline; Reitmann, Ann-Kristin; Meysonnat, Aline
  3. Does Female Empowerment Promote Economic Development? By Matthias Doepke; Michèle Tertilt
  4. Early Education and Gender Differences By Del Boca, Daniela; Martino, Enrica Maria; Meroni, Elena Claudia; Piazzalunga, Daniela
  5. Gender Differences, Social Isolation and Rural Migrants’ Cigarette Smoking By Liu, Zhongyuan; Florkowski, Wojciech J.; Chen, Huiguang

  1. By: Breda, Thomas (Paris School of Economics); Napp, Clotilde (CNRS)
    Abstract: Gender differences in math performance are now small in developed countries and they cannot explain on their own the strong under-representation of women in math-related fields. This latter result is however no longer true once gender differences in reading performance are also taken into account. Using individual-level data on 300,000 15-year-old students in 64 countries, we show that the difference between a student performance in reading and math is 80% of a standard deviation larger for girls than boys, a magnitude considered as very large. When this difference is controlled for, the gender gap in students' intentions to pursue math-intensive studies and careers is reduced by around 75%, while gender gaps in self-concept in math, declared interest for math or attitudes towards math entirely disappear. These latter variables are also much less able to explain the gender gap in intentions to study math than is students' difference in performance between math and reading. These results are in line with choice models in which educational decisions involve intra-individual comparisons of achievement and self-beliefs in different subjects as well as cultural norms regarding gender. To directly show that intra-individual comparisons of achievement impact students' intended careers, we use differences across schools in teaching resources dedicated to math and reading as exogenous variations of students comparative advantage for math. Results confirm that the comparative advantage in math with respect to reading at the time of making educational choices plays a key role in the process leading to women's under-representation in math-intensive fields.
    Keywords: comparative advantage, students' achievement, math-intensive fields, gender gap
    JEL: I24 J16
    Date: 2019–07
  2. By: Nillesen, Eleonora (UNU-MERIT); Grimm, Michael (University of Passau); Goedhuys, Micheline (UNU-MERIT); Reitmann, Ann-Kristin (University of Passau); Meysonnat, Aline (UNU-MERIT)
    Abstract: We use an implicit association test (IAT) to measure implicit gender attitudes and examine the malleability of these attitudes using a randomized field experiment and quasi-experimental data from Tunisia. Women that appear most conservative respond to a randomized video treatment by reducing their implicit gender bias. Also, female interviewers invite more conservative responses to the IAT, especially among the male subsample. Perceived religiosity of the interviewer affects self-reported gender attitudes, but not IAT measures, suggesting social desirability may be at work. We discuss the implications of our findings for the use of implicit measures in development research.
    Keywords: women empowerment, implicit association test, interviewer effects, Middle East and North Africa
    JEL: C83 D91 O12
    Date: 2019–07
  3. By: Matthias Doepke; Michèle Tertilt
    Abstract: Empirical evidence suggests that money in the hands of mothers (as opposed to fathers) increases expenditures on children. Does this imply that targeting transfers to women promotes economic development? Not necessarily. We consider a noncooperative model of the household where a gender wage gap leads to endogenous household specialization. As a result, women indeed spend more on children and invest more in human capital. Yet, depending on the nature of the production function, targeting transfers to womenmay be beneficial or harmful to growth. Transfers to women are more likely to be beneficial when human capital, rather than physical capital or land, is the most important factor of production. We provide empirical evidence supportive of our mechanism: In Mexican PROGRESA data, transfers to women lead to an increase in spending on children, but a decline in the savings rate.
    Keywords: Female Empowerment, Gender Equality, Development, Theory of the Household, Marital Bargaining
    JEL: D13 J16 O10
    Date: 2019–07
  4. By: Del Boca, Daniela (University of Turin); Martino, Enrica Maria (INED, France); Meroni, Elena Claudia (European Commission, Joint Research Centre); Piazzalunga, Daniela (FBK-IRVAPP)
    Abstract: A rich strand of the economic literature has been studying the impact of different forms of early childcare on children cognitive and non-cognitive development in the short and medium run, and on a number of educational, labor market, and life outcomes in the long run. These studies agree in assessing the importance of the first years of life on future outcomes, and identify early childhood interventions as a powerful policy instrument to boost child development. Furthermore, most research agrees in identifying stronger beneficial effects among children from disadvantaged backgrounds, making a case for the role of childcare policies in reducing inequality. Instead, heterogeneity of results across gender is less clear-cut. Yet, it is important to understand how childcare arrangements differently affect boys and girls, to figure out how to boost cognitive and non-cognitive development of young children and how to reduce gender gaps later in life. Our paper offers a comprehensive review of the literature on early childcare impacts, shedding light on the heterogeneous effects across genders, considering the role of institutional background, type of the intervention, and age of the child. We also present some empirical results on the Italian case which indicates that gender differences in the outcomes is lower among children who attended an impact toddler center, while it is higher and more often statistically significant for those who received informal care. This result confirms the positive and equalizing role of early public childcare.
    Keywords: childcare, child development, cognitive skills, non-cognitive skills, gender differences
    JEL: J13 J16
    Date: 2019–07
  5. By: Liu, Zhongyuan; Florkowski, Wojciech J.; Chen, Huiguang
    Keywords: Labor and Human Capital
    Date: 2019–06–25

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