The path to college education: The role of math and verbal skills

Esteban Aucejo, Jonathan James

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


This paper studies the formation of math and verbal skills during compulsory education and their impact on educational attainment. Using longitudinal data that follow students in England from elementary school to university, we find that the production functions of math and verbal skills are inherently different, where cross effects are present only in the production of math skills. Results on long-term educational outcomes indicate that verbal skills play a substantially greater role in explaining university enrollment than math skills. This finding, combined with the large female advantage in verbal skills, has key implications for gender gaps in college enrollment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2905-2946
Number of pages42
JournalJournal of Political Economy
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Economics and Econometrics


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