Gender Parity and Schooling Choices

Kehinde F. Ajayi, Boston University
Marric Buessing, Boston University

This paper examines gender differences in schooling choices. We focus on secondary school education in Ghana. Admission of junior high school students into senior high school is based on students' rankings of their top six program choices and their performance on a national exam. Students must choose a school as well as a program to study. There are clear gender differences in program choices -- girls are significantly more likely to choose Home Economics, and boys are more likely to choose Technical Studies. Additionally, there is a substantial amount of geographical variation in these choices. We examine the relationship between gender equality and students' schooling choices by linking district-level measures of gender parity from census data to administrative data on students' program choices. We find that gender differences in program choices are most strongly correlated with differences in economic opportunities and academic performance.

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Presented in Session 103: Human Capital in Developing Countries