We employ a psychometrically validated performance test to study economic competence among a large and representative sample of early secondary school students in Southwest Germany. The rich dataset allows us to study variation in economic competence across school types and observable student characteristics. Our results show that economic competence is significantly lower among female students, migrants, students with parents of low socioeconomic status and those who do not attend the highest track school type. Additionally, quantile regression analyses suggest that the gender gap increases along the distribution of economic competence and that effects of parents with high socio-economic status are more pronounced above the median of the competence distribution. Our analysis sets the stage for a long-term study of economic competence among secondary school students and the impact of a recent curriculum reform introducing mandatory economic education.
Economic competence economic literacy item response theory pre-college economic education gender gap