What Explains the Evolution of Gender Differences in Numeracy in Developing Countries?


Event details


Date & time

Tuesday 22 June 2010


Seminar Room B, Coombs Building, Fellows Road, ANU


Daniel Suryadarma, Research School of Economics


Sandra Zec
This paper measures the evolution of the gender gap in numeracy among school age children using a longitudinal dataset from Indonesia. A unique feature of the dataset is that it uses an identical test for the two survey waves, implying that any changes in the gender gap indicates actual changes in numeracy. I find that girls outperform boys by 0.09 standard deviations when the sample was around 11 years old. Seven years later, the gap has increased to 0.19 standard deviations. This gap is equivalent to around 18 months of schooling. I find evidence for two explanations for the widening gap. The first is that households invest more resources in girls relative to boys, driven by the higher labor market returns to numeracy for girls than for boys. The second is that the Indonesian education system appears to favor girls over boys, as the gender gap widens for those who remained in school, but narrows for those who dropped out of school.

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