Gender Gaps in Cognitive and Non-Cognitive Skills in Early Primary Grades: Evidence from Rural Indonesia

43 Pages Posted: 7 Oct 2016

See all articles by Nozomi Nakajima

Nozomi Nakajima

Harvard University - Harvard Graduate School of Education

Haeil Jung

Indiana University Bloomington - School of Public & Environmental Affairs (SPEA)

Menno Prasad Pradhan

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, School of Business and Economics; University of Amsterdam - Faculty of Economics and Business (FEB)

Amer Hasan

World Bank

Angela Kinnell

The University of Western Australia

Sally Brinkman

The University of Western Australia

Date Written: September 26, 2016

Abstract

This paper examines gender gaps in cognitive and non-cognitive skills among a sample of more than 10,000 children between the ages of 6 and 9 in rural Indonesia. In terms of cognitive skills, the analysis finds evidence of gender gaps favoring girls at each age in test scores of language (0.158-0.252 standard deviations) and mathematics (0.155-0.243 standard deviations) in the early years of primary school. Girls also perform significantly better than boys in non-cognitive skills, with higher scores on the social competence (0.086-0.247 standard deviations) and emotional maturity domains (0.213-0.296 standard deviations) of the Early Development Instrument, a finding consistent with research from high-income countries. Decomposition analyses are used to investigate the extent to which enrollment patterns in preschool and primary school as well as parenting practices contribute to these gender gaps in cognitive and non-cognitive skills. Standard decomposition approaches are extended to correct for selection on observables. The findings show that gender differences in enrollment patterns play a role in explaining gender gaps in test scores, while differences in parenting practices do not. However, the relative contribution of observed factors to gender gaps depends on the available quality of preschool services in the child?s village and whether the outcome of interest is cognitive or non-cognitive skills.

Keywords: Educational Sciences, Girls'Education, Gender and Education

Suggested Citation

Nakajima, Nozomi and Jung, Haeil and Pradhan, Menno and Hasan, Amer and Kinnell, Angela and Brinkman, Sally, Gender Gaps in Cognitive and Non-Cognitive Skills in Early Primary Grades: Evidence from Rural Indonesia (September 26, 2016). World Bank Policy Research Working Paper No. 7833, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2849134

Nozomi Nakajima (Contact Author)

Harvard University - Harvard Graduate School of Education ( email )

6 Appian Way
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Haeil Jung

Indiana University Bloomington - School of Public & Environmental Affairs (SPEA) ( email )

1315 East Tenth Street
Bloomington, IN 47405
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.indiana.edu/~spea/faculty/jung-haeil.shtml

Menno Pradhan

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, School of Business and Economics ( email )

De Boelelaan 1105
Amsterdam, 1081HV
Netherlands
+31(0)20 444 6137 (Phone)
+31(0)20 444 6127 (Fax)

University of Amsterdam - Faculty of Economics and Business (FEB) ( email )

Roetersstraat 11
Amsterdam, 1018 WB
Netherlands

Amer Hasan

World Bank ( email )

1818 H Street NW
Washington, DC 20433
United States

Angela Kinnell

The University of Western Australia ( email )

35 Stirling Highway
Crawley, Western Australia 6009
Australia

Sally Brinkman

The University of Western Australia

35 Stirling Highway
Crawley, Western Australia 6009
Australia

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