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Males at the Tails: How Socioeconomic Status Shapes the Gender Gap (WP-20-22)

David Autor, David Figlio, Krzysztof Karbownik, Jeffrey Roth, and Melanie Wasserman

Analyzing Florida birth certificates matched to school records, the researchers document that the female advantage in childhood behavioral and academic outcomes is driven by gender gaps at the extremes of the outcome distribution. Using unconditional quantile regression, they investigate whether family socioeconomic status (SES) differentially affects the lower tail outcomes of boys. They find that the differential effects of family SES on boys’ outcomes are concentrated in the parts of the distribution where the gender gaps are most pronounced. Accounting for the disproportionate effects of family environment on boys at the tails substantially narrows the gender gap in high school dropout.

David Autor, Ford Professor of Economics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

David Figlio, Orrington Lunt Professor of Education and Social Policy, Dean of the School of Education and Social Policy, and IPR Fellow, Northwestern University

Krzysztof Karbownik, Assistant Professor of Economics, Emory University

Jeffrey Roth, Research Professor of Pediatrics, University of Florida

Melanie Wasserman, Assistant Professor of Economics, University of California, Los Angeles

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