Do the Maths: An Analysis of the Gender Gap in Mathematics in Africa

52 Pages Posted: 2 Feb 2013

See all articles by Andy Dickerson

Andy Dickerson

University of Sheffield - Department of Economics

Steven McIntosh

London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE)

Christine Valente

University of Nottingham

Abstract

This paper uses microdata for 19 African countries to examine the gender difference in maths test scores amongst primary school children. There is a significant difference in maths test scores in favour of boys, similar to that previously observed in developed countries. This difference cannot be explained by gender differences in school quality, home environment, or within-school gender discrimination in access to schooling inputs. However, the gender gap varies widely with characteristics of the regions in which the pupils live, and these regional characteristics are more predictive of the gender gap than parental education and school characteristics, including teacher gender. At the cross-country level, differences in fertility rates account for nearly half the variation in the gender gap, and this relationship is not due to the correlation between fertility and GDP nor to gender inequality as measured by the Gender Gap Index.

Keywords: cognitive maths skills, gender, Africa

JEL Classification: O15, I20

Suggested Citation

Dickerson, Andy and McIntosh, Steven and Valente, Christine, Do the Maths: An Analysis of the Gender Gap in Mathematics in Africa. IZA Discussion Paper No. 7174, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2210834

Andy Dickerson (Contact Author)

University of Sheffield - Department of Economics ( email )

9 Mappin Street
Sheffield, S1 4DT
UNITED KINGDOM

Steven McIntosh

London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE) ( email )

Houghton Street
London WC2A 2AE
+44 (0)171 955 7442 (Phone)

Christine Valente

University of Nottingham ( email )

University Park
Nottingham, NG8 1BB
United Kingdom

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