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Title page for ETD etd-07182016-120224

Type of Document Dissertation
Author Moody, Michael Quinn
Author's Email Address michael.q.moody@vanderbilt.edu
URN etd-07182016-120224
Title Essays on the Gender Gap and the Effects of Secondary School Expansion: Evidence from the Early Twentieth Century's High School Movement
Degree PhD
Department Economics
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
William J. Collins Committee Chair
Claudia Rei Committee Member
Kathryn Anderson Committee Member
Robert Dale Ballou Committee Member
  • farmers
  • women
  • returns to education
  • principals
Date of Defense 2016-07-08
Availability unrestricted
High schools in the South in the early 20th century served as both an important white collar employer of women as well as a means of transmitting human capital to their students. I use a newly constructed dataset of high schools and high school teachers in Tennessee from 1923 – 1935 to analyze the gender gap between teachers and the impact of high school access on future career choice. I find that a significant gender wage gap exists between male and female high school teachers even after controlling for observables such as school attended, Explanations for the gap can be found in differences in gender of the principal, differences in classes taught, and market power by the school boards over the supply of female labor. Further study of the gender ratio of high school principals suggests that women did not make inroads into higher paying jobs over the course of the 1920s and early 1930s and that the Great Depression may have reduced job opportunities for women. I also find that increased human capital by the high school students tended to lead more of them to work as farmers. Many rural high schools emphasized scientific farming methods suggesting that this result may not be surprising.
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