DP16895 Gender, Income, and Numeracy Test Scores
|Author(s):||Jaai Parasnis, Molly Paterson, Michelle Rendall|
|Publication Date:||January 2022|
|Keyword(s):||Australia, Decomposition, gender, Household Income, Numeracy, Parental education, role models, Stereotypes|
|JEL(s):||I20, I24, J16|
|Programme Areas:||Labour Economics|
|Link to this Page:||cepr.org/active/publications/discussion_papers/dp.php?dpno=16895|
The performance of students in numeracy tests reveals gaps based on students' gender and household income. In this paper, using longitudinal data on Australian children, we show the interrelationship between (i) socioeconomic gaps based on early-life household income, and (ii) the gender gap in numeracy. We find that between Grades 3 to 9, boys have a distinct advantage in numeracy scores over girls, which widens over time. We also find that, by Grade 9, poorer female students are doubly disadvantaged. This disadvantage does not arise because of differences in socioeconomic status between boys and girls but because the effect of a lower socioeconomic background on test scores is significant only for girls. We find that mother's education and labor force status play an important role in the emergence of gender gaps, at both ends (top and bottom) of the income distribution. We confirm that early life circumstances continue to impact student's achievement well into adolescence and these exacerbate gender gaps, thus demonstrating the importance of targeted early interventions to address gaps in key skills acquisition for the modern economy.