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Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf? Risk Aversion and Gender Discrimination in Assessment

7 February 2014
Publication Type: Working Paper
JEL Code: A20, C21, D81, I24, J16

This study exploits a natural experiment to evaluate the gender bias effect associated with negative marking due to gender-differentiated risk aversion. This approach avoids framing effects that characterize experimental evaluation of negative marking assessments. Evidence of a gender bias against female students is found. Quantile regressions indicate that female students in higher quantiles are substantially more adversely affected by negative marking. This distribution effect has been overlooked by prior studies, but has important policy implications for higher learning institutions where access to bursary and scholarship funding, as well as access to further study opportunities, is reserved for top performing candidates.

Series title: Working paper 418
1 February 2014
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