Scandinavian Working Papers in Economics

Working Paper Series,
IFAU - Institute for Evaluation of Labour Market and Education Policy

No 2010:14: Are boys discriminated in Swedish high schools?

Björn Tyrefors Hinnerich (), Erik Höglin () and Magnus Johannesson ()
Additional contact information
Björn Tyrefors Hinnerich: Department of Economics, Stockholm University
Erik Höglin: Swedish Fiscal Policy Council
Magnus Johannesson: Department of Economics, Stockholm School of Economics

Abstract: Girls typically have higher grades than boys in school and recent research suggests that part of this gender difference may be due to discrimination of boys. We rigorously test this in a field experiment where a random sample of the same tests in the Swedish language is subject to blind and non-blind grading. The non-blind test score is on average 15 % lower for boys than for girls. Blind grading lowers the average grades with 13 %, indicating that personal ties and/or grade inflation are important in non-blind grading. But we find no evidence of discrimination against boys. The point estimate of the discrimination effect is close to zero with a 95 % confidence interval of ±4.5 % of the average non-blind grade.

Keywords: Discrimination; Field experiments; Grading; Education; Gender

JEL-codes: C93; I20; J16

23 pages, November 22, 2010

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