New Findings

Males at the Tails: How Socioeconomic Status Shapes the Gender Gap

Peer-reviewed Publication

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

August 2023

The authors 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, the authors show that family socioeconomic status particularly influences boys’ relative to girls’ outcomes at the lower tails of the outcome distribution, precisely where gender gaps are most pronounced. These relationships are not explained by school or neighborhood factors, or parents’ differential treatment of boys. The disproportionate effect of socioeconomic status on boys at the tails substantially contributes to the gender gap in high school dropout.