Family Disadvantage and the Gender Gap in Behavioral and Educational Outcomes
Using birth certificates matched to schooling records for Florida children born 1992–2002, we assess whether family disadvantage disproportionately impedes the pre-market development of boys. We find that, relative to their sisters, boys born to disadvantaged families have higher rates of disciplinary problems, lower achievement scores, and fewer high-school completions. Evidence supports that this is a causal effect of the post-natal environment; family disadvantage is unrelated to the gender gap in neonatal health. We conclude that the gender gap among black children is larger than among white children in substantial part because black children are raised in more disadvantaged families.
We thank Josh Angrist, Marianne Bertrand, Raj Chetty, John Ham, Nathan Hendren, Louis Kaplow, Mikael Lindahl, Jeremy Majerovitz, Richard Murnane, Jessica Pan, Kjell Salvanes, Till von Wachter, and numerous seminar participants at AEFP, CESifo Program on the Economics of Education, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, Harvard University, Hitotsubashi University, IZA, Maastricht University, Miami University, MIT, National University of Singapore, the NBER Education Program, Northwestern University, Queens University, Simon Fraser University, University of Chicago, University of Erlangen-Nurnberg, University of Leicester, University of Oregon, University of Quebec at Montreal, University of Southampton, University of Toronto, Uppsala University, Washington University in Saint Louis, and the Yrjö Jahnsson Foundation 60th Anniversary Conference on Inequality and Health for valuable suggestions that helped to improve the paper. Autor acknowledges support from the Russell Sage Foundation (Grant #85-12-07). Figlio and Roth acknowledge support from the National Science Foundation and the Institute for Education Sciences (CALDER grant), and Figlio acknowledges support from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Wasserman acknowledges support from the NSF Graduation Research Fellowship, NIA Grant #T32-AG000186, and NICHD Grant #HD007339-30. We are grateful to the Florida Departments of Education and Health for providing the de-identified, matched data used in this analysis. The conclusions expressed in this paper are those of the authors and do not represent the positions of the Florida Departments of Education and Health, nor those of our funders, nor the views of the National Bureau of Economic Research.
David Autor & David Figlio & Krzysztof Karbownik & Jeffrey Roth & Melanie Wasserman, 2019. "Family Disadvantage and the Gender Gap in Behavioral and Educational Outcomes," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, vol 11(3), pages 338-381. citation courtesy of