School Quality and the Gender Gap in Educational Achievement

New Findings, School Reform, January 2016

Recent evi­dence indi­cates that boys and girls are dif­fer­ently affected by the quan­tity and qual­ity of fam­ily inputs received in child­hood. We assess whether this is also true for school­ing inputs. Using matched Florida birth and school admin­is­tra­tive records, we esti­mate the causal effect of school qual­ity on the gen­der gap in edu­ca­tional out­comes by con­trast­ing opposite-sex sib­lings who attend the same sets of schools—thereby purg­ing fam­ily heterogeneity—and lever­ag­ing within-family vari­a­tion in school qual­ity aris­ing from fam­ily moves. Investigating mid­dle school test scores, absences and sus­pen­sions, we find that boys ben­e­fit more than girls from cumu­la­tive expo­sure to higher qual­ity schools.