Accounting for the Gender Gap in College Attainment
35 Pages Posted: 1 Apr 2009 Last revised: 16 Dec 2009
Date Written: February 25, 2009
One striking phenomenon in the U.S. labor market is the reversal of the gender gap in college attainment. Females have outnumbered males in college attainment since 1987. We develop a discrete choice model of college entry decisions to study the driving forces of changes in college attainment by gender.
We find that the increase in relative earnings between college-educated and high-school-educated individuals and the increasing parental education have important effects on the increase in college attainment for both genders but cannot explain the reversal of the gender gap.
Rising divorce probabilities increase returns to college for females and decrease those for males, and thus are crucial in explaining the reversal of the gender gap in college attainment.
Keywords: gender, education, marriage, women, intergenerational schooling persistence
JEL Classification: J24, J16, I20
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation