Economics Gender Gap

Following is the DUMBEST thing that has ever come out of the US education mafia:

"We find no easy answers. In particular, our results do not support the notion
that men are simply better than women at economics;


"easy answers"?

NO "easy answers"??

There IS an easy answer,and that is that one who would look at ALL of the data and then make such an absurd and preposterous statement IS as stupid as the data itself proves they are!


Research in Economic Education

In this section, the Journal of Economic Education publishes original theo-
retical and empirical studies of economic education dealing with the analy-
sis and evaluation of teaching methods, learning, attitudes and interests,
materials, or processes.

PETER KENNEDY, Section Editor

Exploring the Gender Gap on the GRE Subject Test in Economics

Mary Hirschfeld, Robert L. Moore, and
Eleanor Brown

On average, women achieve lower scores on the Graduate Record Exam (GRE)
Subject Test in Economics than men. From 1989 through 1992, 5,815 men and
2,164 women nationwide took the exam; the mean score for women was 603, in
contrast to a mean score of 651 for men.1 In this article, we look for explanations
behind the gender gap in economics GRE test scores. Our data include GRE
scores, overall college GPA as well as grades in all college economics and math
courses, and Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) scores for economics majors at Occi-
dental College, all of whom are required to take the GRE Subject Test. We also
look at economics majors at Pomona College, who take an alternative standard-
ized test, also produced by Educational Testing Service (ETS), known as the
Major Field Achievement Test (MFAT) in Economics.

We find no easy answers. In particular, our results do not support the notion
that men are simply better than women at economics; that the difference can be
explained by such things as grades in economics courses, SAT scores, or even
math backgrounds; or that women are substantially handicapped by a multiple-
choice format alone.

We briefly review the GRE exam and the literature on gender and performance
in economics, and preview our key empirical results. We then describe the Occi-

  Mary Hirschfeld and Robert L. Moore are professors of economics at Occidental College. Eleanor
Brown is a professor of economics at Pomona College. The authors would like to thank Mike Tamada
for providing some of the data used in this article; Lori Snyder and Jennifer Imazeki for excellent
research assistance; and Rob Dorso and Dawn S. Robinson, who graciously performed some statistical
analysis using ETS data. They would also like to thank associate editor Peter Kennedy and three
referees for useful suggestions


dental data and estimate GRE score-generating functions for men and women
economics majors. The Pomona College experience with the MFAT exam is con­
trasted with the Occidental GRE results. We then propose a possible explanation
for our results.


According to the descriptive booklet distributed to all economics GRE test tak­
ers by ETS, "scores on the test are intended to indicate students' abilities and their
mastery of the subject matter emphasized in many undergraduate programs, with
a focus on analytic methods for dealing with economic problems." The booklet
goes on to describe the content of the exam:

The committee of examiners has felt that the primary concern in most graduate school
admissions is the student's aptitude for and competence in the basic skills of economic
analysis. Of secondary importance is his or her knowledge of economic history, insti­
tutions, and terminology. Economic analysis is broadly defined. It includes interpret­
ing and manipulating diagrams and simple mathematics; explaining and predicting
economic behavior, given certain assumptions; prescribing appropriate action and pol­
icy; and drawing conclusions from specified economic information and data. (Educa­
tional Testing Service 1979 , 5; and 1987 , 6)

Given this orientation, some might conclude that the differential performance
by gender must reflect the fact that men have better aptitude for, and competence
in, the basic skills of economic analysis. The results we present using data from
Occidental College indicate that this differential performance on the GRE per­
sisted even when we controlled for undergraduate grades in economic courses
and SAT scores.

Others might point to prior studies, most of which used results from principles
of economics courses, that have found that women do worse on standardized
multiple-choice exams. A good summary of these past studies on the effect of
gender on scores on tests of economic understanding can be found in Williams,
Waldauer, and Duggal ( 1992 , 219-20). In general, such studies have used stan­
dardized tests to identify the determinants of such economic knowledge. The most
comprehensive survey to date ( Siegfried 1979) found that men performed better
than women in a majority of cases. More recent studies ( Anderson et al. 1994;
Heath 1989; Soper and Walstad 1988; Walstad and Soper 1989; Ferber, Birnbaum
, and Green 1983; Gohmann and ...