Scandinavian Working Papers in Economics

Umeå Economic Studies,
Umeå University, Department of Economics

No 1001: Gender differences in admission scores and first-year university achievement

Linn Karlsson () and Magnus Wikström ()
Additional contact information
Linn Karlsson: Department of Economics, Umeå University, Postal: Department of Economics, Umeå University, S 901 87 Umeå, Sweden
Magnus Wikström: Department of Economics, Umeå University, Postal: Department of Economics, Umeå University, S 901 87 Umeå, Sweden

Abstract: This study explores female underprediction in first-year university achievement by using data from 8,971 Swedish university entrants in the fall semester of 2012. The Swedish admissions system selects students by two instruments: upper secondary school GPA or scores from a scholastic aptitude test (SweSAT). Nearest-neighbour matching allows us to compare students with similar admission scores and estimate achievement differences between male and female students. The results show that admission scores underpredict achievement for women relative to men in both admissions groups and more so for the SweSAT. As we condition on field of education, achievement differences tend to vary over fields and tend to become smaller, indicating that part of the differences is related to the male-female composition of students in the different fields.

Keywords: Swedish admissions test; grade point average; gender; female underprediction; higher education

JEL-codes: I21; I23; I24

25 pages, September 24, 2021

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