Gary Becker examines the new gender inequality in US education – females do better that men at school and because they get married later and have fewer kids have become the majority gender (57%) in US college education. Men get lower grades and drop out more. The obvious question is why women do better at school? This isn’t clear – perhaps they are ‘more diligent students, less rebellious and more docile’.
The outcomes here are interesting since, as Richard Posner notes, men still dominate the workforce and wage inequalities favour men. Posner accepts that women are more ‘docile’ than men who are likewise more ‘aggressive’ and hence less open to new educational experiences but again asks why this is so.
One speculative explanation suggested by Posner rests in the decline in the disciplined ‘patriarchal’ family (due to increased illegitimacy and a higher incidence of divorce) which might be ‘harder’ on boys than girls. If dad isn’t around maybe boys become more unruly than girls and do worse at school.
Maybe too because boys can more easily get into a wide range of well-paid jobs than girls that they have less incentive to invest in their human capital.
A quick flip around the web didn’t yield much more than a general confirmation that these patterns also exist in Australia although my casual observation suggests they do.