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International Evidence on the Gender Gap in Education over the Past Six Decades: A Puzzle and an Answer to It

Francisco Parro

Journal of Human Capital, 2012, vol. 6, issue 2, 150 - 185

Abstract: This paper presents novel worldwide evidence on the evolution of the gender gap in education over the past six decades. In every region of the world, I find that the gender gap increases from 1950 to 1975 and then decreases from 1975 to 2005. This path creates a puzzle since the existing explanations for the post-1975 boom in the higher education of women are not fully consistent with this evidence. To solve this puzzle, I highlight the missing element in the literature: the different nature of the forces behind the increases in the demand for education in the two periods.

Date: 2012
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