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Does School Tracking Affect Equality of Opportunity? New International Evidence

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  • Daniele Checchi

    (University of Milan)

  • Giorgio Brunello

Abstract

This paper investigates whether at the interaction between family background and school tracking affects human capital accumulation. Our a priori view is that more tracking should reinforce the role of parental privilege, and thereby reduce equality of opportunity. Compared to the current literature, which focuses on early outcomes, such as test scores at 13 and 15, we look at later outcomes, including literacy, dropout rates, college enrolment, employability and earnings. While we do not confirm previous results that tracking reinforces family background effects on literacy, we do confirm our view when looking at educational attainment and labour market outcomes. When looking at early wages, we find that parental background effects are stronger when tracking starts earlier. We reconcile the apparently contrasting results on literacy, educational attainment and earnings by arguing that the signalling role of formal education – captured by attainment – matters more than actual skills – measured by literacy – in the early stages of labour market experience.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Universitá degli Studi di Milano in its series UNIMI - Research Papers in Economics, Business, and Statistics with number unimi-1044.

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Date of creation: 17 Nov 2006
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Handle: RePEc:bep:unimip:unimi-1044

Note: oai:cdlib1:unimi-1044
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Keywords: education; training; literacy;

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References

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  1. Meghir, Costas & Palme, Mårten, 1999. "Assessing the Effect of Schooling on Earnings Using a Social Experiment," Working Paper Series in Economics and Finance 313, Stockholm School of Economics.
  2. Card, David & Krueger, Alan B, 1992. "Does School Quality Matter? Returns to Education and the Characteristics of Public Schools in the United States," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 100(1), pages 1-40, February.
  3. Andreas Ammermueller & Jörn-Steffen Pischke, 2006. "Peer Effects in European Primary Schools: Evidence from PIRLS," CEE Discussion Papers 0065, Centre for the Economics of Education, LSE.
  4. Pekkarinen, Tuomas, 2005. "Gender Differences in Educational Attainment: Evidence on the Role of the Tracking Age from a Finnish Quasi-Experiment," IZA Discussion Papers 1897, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
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  7. Bauer, Philipp & Riphahn, Regina T., 2006. "Timing of school tracking as a determinant of intergenerational transmission of education," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 91(1), pages 90-97, April.
  8. David Card & Alan Krueger, 1996. "School Resources and Student Outcomes: An Overview of the Literature and New Evidence from North and South Carolina," NBER Working Papers 5708, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  12. Schütz, Gabriela & Ursprung, Heinrich W. & Woessmann, Ludger, 2005. "Education Policy and Equality of Opportunity," IZA Discussion Papers 1906, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  13. Michael Fertig & Jochen Kluve, 2005. "The Effect of Age at School Entry on Educational Attainment in Germany," RWI Discussion Papers 0027, Rheinisch-Westfälisches Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung.
  14. Hanushek, Eric A. & Wößmann, Ludger, 2006. "Does educational tracking affect performance and inequality? differences-in-differences evidence across countries," Munich Reprints in Economics 20457, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
  15. Thomas S. Dee & Brian A. Jacob, 2006. "Do High School Exit Exams Influence Educational Attainment or Labor Market Performance?," NBER Working Papers 12199, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  16. David N. Figlio & Marianne E. Page, 2000. "School Choice and the Distributional Effects of Ability Tracking: Does Separation Increase Equality?," NBER Working Papers 8055, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  19. Vandenberghe, V. & Robin, S., 2004. "Evaluating the effectiveness of private education across countries: a comparison of methods," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 11(4), pages 487-506, August.
  20. Brown, Giorgina & Micklewright, John & Schnepf, Sylke V. & Waldmann, Robert, 2005. "Cross-National Surveys of Learning Achievement: How Robust are the Findings?," IZA Discussion Papers 1652, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
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  22. Vincent Vandenberge, 2006. "Achievement effectiveness and equity: the role of tracking, grade repetition and inter-school segregation," Applied Economics Letters, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 13(11), pages 685-693.
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  24. Ammermüller, Andreas, 2005. "Educational Opportunities and the Role of Institutions," ZEW Discussion Papers 05-44, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
  25. Benabou, Roland, 1996. "Equity and Efficiency in Human Capital Investment: The Local Connection," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 63(2), pages 237-64, April.
  26. Bruce Sacerdote, 2001. "Peer Effects With Random Assignment: Results For Dartmouth Roommates," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 116(2), pages 681-704, May.
  27. Costas Meghir & Mårten Palme, 2005. "Educational Reform, Ability, and Family Background," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(1), pages 414-424, March.
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  29. Christian Dustmann, 2004. "Parental background, secondary school track choice, and wages," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 56(2), pages 209-230, April.
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  34. Pekkarinen, Tuomas & Uusitalo, Roope & Pekkala, Sari, 2006. "Education Policy and Intergenerational Income Mobility: Evidence from the Finnish Comprehensive School Reform," IZA Discussion Papers 2204, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
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As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
  1. Early tracking--not good.
    by René Böheim in Econ Tidbits on 2012-12-21 09:26:00
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