Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Do Men Delay College Graduation in Order to Grow Up?

There are 133 women in college to every 100 men. By age 25 there are 141 female college graduates for every 100 male graduates. The headline news has been that at age 22, the traditional age for college graduation, the ratio of female to male college graduates is 185/100.

Betsey Stevenson and Justin Wolfers, whose work I often cite in these pages, have opened the question of why men take longer to graduate from college.

It is well known that all through adolescence girls, as a group, are more mature than boys. I think that is one of the main reasons that girls are more likely to stay in school and go straight through to college commencement in the first place. The senior women at Centre often lament that their male counterparts aren't as mature as they are in thinking about marriage and children. I think this is one of the reasons that, on average, women pick husbands who are a couple of years older than they are - to try to equalize their maturity levels.

So here is my gruntled, hopeful, silver-lining-seeking hypothesis: men are taking longer to graduate than women because they are trying to catch up to the women in maturity.

1 comment:

brax4444 said...

I think this is likely but it is hard for me to shake memories of people feeling others were immature simply because they had differing opinions. But yes, I consider it a fact that women mature more quickly than men.