Research suggests that boys have a comparative advantage in math because they’re worse at reading than girls

By Anne workforce / October 29, 2019

math class green chalkboardREUTERS/Vasily Fedosenko

Alex Tabarrok is the Bartley J. Madden chair in economics and an economics professor at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University.
He’s been writing on the research and economics of gender imbalances in different fields. 
Notably, he writes, boys have a “comparative advantage” in math because they are generally worse at reading than girls.
Men may be overrepresented in STEM fields because they are underrepresented in reading fields.
Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

In an earlier post, “Do Boys Have a Comparative Advantage in Math and Science?” I pointed to evidence showing that boys have a comparative advantage in math because they are much worse than girls at reading. (Boys do not have a large absolute advantage in math.) If people specialize in their personal comparative advantage this can easily lead to more boys than girls entering math training even if girls are equally or more talented. As I wrote earlier:

“[C]onsider what happens when students are told: Do what you are good at! Loosely speaking the situation will be something like this: Females will say I got A’s in history and English and B’s in science and math, therefore, I should follow my strengthens and specialize in drawing on the same skills as history and English. Boys will say I got B’s in science and math and C’s in history and English, therefore, I should follow my strengths and do something involving science and math.”See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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