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Why are boys falling behind? Explaining gender gaps in school attainment in Sri Lanka

Himaz, R; Aturupane, H; (2021) Why are boys falling behind? Explaining gender gaps in school attainment in Sri Lanka. World Development , 142 , Article 105415. 10.1016/j.worlddev.2021.105415. Green open access

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Abstract

An increasingly common trend in developed countries and middle income countries such as Thailand, South Africa, Malaysia, Indonesia and Sri Lanka is that females outperform males in terms of attainment at school and enrollment in higher education, on average. Surprisingly, in countries such as Sri Lanka and Thailand, households also seem to allocate significantly higher resources towards girls’ education rather than boys’ (Himaz, 2010; Wongmonta & Glewwe, 2017). This paper looks at attainment in mathematics among a sample of 12 year olds in Sri Lanka and uses decomposition analysis to see to what extent parental aspirations and teacher attitudes, inter alia, can explain gender differentials disfavoring boys. The paper finds that although teacher attitudes and parental aspirations are significantly lower for boys, these factors -as we measure them- do not sufficiently explain the attainment gap. Much of the gap remains ‘unexplained’ and is due to differences in returns to endowments. The paper argues that positive discrimination of men in the labor market and bottle necks in higher-education may be important in understanding the unexplained component. This emphasizes the need to look beyond school level interventions to address the issue of gender imbalances in attainment.

Type: Article
Title: Why are boys falling behind? Explaining gender gaps in school attainment in Sri Lanka
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1016/j.worlddev.2021.105415
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.worlddev.2021.105415
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
Keywords: Social Sciences, Development Studies, Economics, Business & Economics, Sri Lanka, South Asia, Gender, Education, Attainment, Bias, EDUCATION EXPENDITURE, SAMPLE SELECTION, HOUSEHOLD, REGRESSION
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Maths and Physical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Maths and Physical Sciences > Inst for Risk and Disaster Reduction
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10134887
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