Gender Gaps in Cognitive and Noncognitive Skills among Adolescents in India

Gender gaps in skills exist around the world but differ remarkably among countries. This paper uses a unique data set with more than 20,000 adolescents in rural India to explore gender gaps in cognitive and noncognitive skills. We find that boys have considerable advantages over girls on several indicators of cognitive and noncognitive skills that remains robust to a wide range of controls and specification choices. We also examine the correlates of cognitive and noncognitive outcomes, paying close attention to socioeconomic status (SES) and pro-female gender attitudes. We find a steep positive gradient in SES as well as for pro-female gender attitudes, with stronger associations between the SES gradient and skills. Further, high socioeconomic status and more pro-female gender attitudes are both strongly correlated with reducing the gender gap in cognitive and noncognitive outcomes.