Adolescence Development and the Math Gender Gap

48 Pages Posted: 1 Feb 2021

See all articles by Cristina Borra

Cristina Borra

University of Seville

Maria Iacovou

University of Essex

Almudena Sevilla

Queen Mary, University of London

Abstract

Using different production function models, we study the causal association between adolescence development and the increase in the gap in math performance between boys and girls. We use data from the 1958 British National Child Development Study, a longitudinal survey of all British children born in the first week of March 1958, containing unique information on puberty development and educational outcomes from childhood into adolescence. We first document a widening of about 10 percent of a standard deviation in the gender gap in maths from primary to secondary school in the UK, and show that adolescent development contributes to explain almost two thirds of the widening of the math gender gap during the adolescence years. We also explore the mechanisms behind these effects. Our evidence regarding differences in the impact of puberty development by age, subject and self-perceived math ability suggests that both social conditions and biological factors are behind the estimated relationships between adolescent development and the increase in the gender gap in math in secondary school.

JEL Classification: I21, I24, J16

Suggested Citation

Borra, Cristina and Iacovou, Maria and Sevilla, Almudena, Adolescence Development and the Math Gender Gap. IZA Discussion Paper No. 14077, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3775982

Cristina Borra (Contact Author)

University of Seville ( email )

Avda. del Cid s/n
E-41092 Sevilla, Sevilla 41004
Spain

Maria Iacovou

University of Essex ( email )

Wivenhoe Park
Institute for Social and Economic Research
Colchester, Essex CO4 3SQ
United Kingdom

Almudena Sevilla

Queen Mary, University of London ( email )

Mile End Road
London, E1 4NS
United Kingdom

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