Sunday, 17 October 2010

Gender and human capital

It is common today for people to note that females are more numerous than males in most levels of education, and that they perform better in school. The obvious question this raises is Why? One possible answer is that there are simply biological differences between men and women that make men better at tasks that require force, while women are better at task for which reasoning is paramount. Over at the Economic Logic blog the Economic Logician comments on this idea:
Mark Pitt, Mark Rosenzweig and Nazmul Hassan build a model of investment in human capital that differentiates genders. Better nutrition improves strength and education improves skills. Individuals make these choices, as well as in which activities to work. Using panel data from rural Bangladesh, they find that model is a reasonable description of reality. That is particularly interesting, because rural Bangladesh does not strike me as an economy where brain would dominate brawn. Also of interest is that improvements in health do not increase education for men, it may even reduce it, while women education clearly benefits from them. Thus policies that focus on health improvements are likely to improve women's schooling more than men's, lead to more occupational differentiation across genders, and a larger gender wag gap.
An interesting result, should this turnout to be true, is that as the so-called "knowledge economy" expands more intelligence/education will be asked for from employees, replacing the need for force, and thus women will find more opportunities and better pay. This will result in a gender pay gap.

1 comment:

Kimble said...

Is it possible that there are more women in tertiary education because they have to attain higher levels of education to offset a pro-male bias on the part of potential employers?