“The trouble with boys”

A new paper from Bertrand and Pan:

This paper explores the importance of the home and school environments in explaining the gender gap in disruptive behavior. We document large differences in the gender gap across key features of the home environment—boys do especially poorly in broken families. In contrast, we find little impact of the early school environment on noncognitive gaps. Differences in endowments explain a small part of boys’ noncognitive deficit in single-mother families. More importantly, noncognitive returns to parental inputs differ markedly by gender. Broken families are associated with worse parental inputs, and boys’ noncognitive development, unlike that of girls’, appears  extremely responsive to such inputs.

This abstract may not make a lot of sense to non-economists. Basically, the question is where do skills like self-discipline and anti-social behavior come from, whether social or environmental influences matter, and why there’s a gender gap. Worth reading.

Also interesting is a new NBER paper on whether depression in young men is linked to later criminal behavior.