The latest research from Autor and his colleagues shows that early-life adversity causes boys to struggle much more than girls. It’s not yet clear why girls are so tough, but they seem much better suited to the challenges of modern childhood. The gender differences are minimal in households with resources — but among poorer families, boys systematically fall short of their sisters and female peers. This pattern implies that if income inequality continues to worsen, the gender inequalities will worsen, too.
Now, in a new paper released Monday, the economists have found additional evidence that bad schools exacerbate the differences in academic achievement between boys and girls. The phenomenon is illustrated in a stunning chart, seen below.
The economists plotted the average test scores of boys and girls at various middle schools in Florida. The schools are ranked by quality, based on how good they are at improving kids’ test scores. At the far left are the worst schools. At the far right are the best schools.