Economic Program | Report

Wayward Sons: The Emerging Gender Gap in Labor Markets and Education

by David Autor and Melanie Wasserman

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How do we ensure American middle class prosperity in an era of ever-intensifying globalization and technological upheaval? That is the question we are trying to answer with NEXT—a new project at Third Way that taps into cutting edge research by top American academics.

This NEXT paper makes a startling discovery: a new gender gap has emerged—one where girls and young women outperform boys and young men in both education and key aspects of the workforce. This gap could be as much about social family structure as it is about economic forces like the demise of labor unions, globalization, and rapid changes in technology. Authors David Autor and Melanie Wasserman make the case that the decline in male achievement is almost exclusively reserved for males born into single-parent households; while females in single-parent households do OK, boys seem to suffer.

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