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The Economics of Tracking and Non-Tracking

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  • Volker Meier

    ()

  • Gabriela Schütz

Abstract

There exists substantial variation across countries as to whether and how students are grouped in classes according to ability. Economic analyses stress that there is joint production of human capital in schools, where output increases with mean ability in the class. Ability tracking may therefore be particularly helpful for talented students. At the same time, weak students may benefit via tailored and specialised courses. The vast majority of the econometric literature suggests that tracking promotes inequality in academic achievement. By contrast, the empirical literature on the impact of tracking on average student performance is inconclusive. Only few studies find a significant association, including both positive and negative estimates.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Ifo Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich in its series Ifo Working Paper Series with number Ifo Working Papers No. 50.

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Date of creation: 2007
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Handle: RePEc:ces:ifowps:_50

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Keywords: Tracking; ability grouping; peer group effects; school systems;

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References

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  1. Daniele Checchi & Giorgio Brunello, 2006. "Does School Tracking Affect Equality of Opportunity? New International Evidence," UNIMI - Research Papers in Economics, Business, and Statistics, Universitá degli Studi di Milano unimi-1044, Universitá degli Studi di Milano.
  2. Eric A. Hanushek & Ludger Wößmann, 2005. "Does Education Tracking Affect Performance and Inequality? Differences-In-Differences Evidence Across Countries," Discussion Papers, Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research 04-026, Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research.
  3. Ludger Wößmann, 2000. "Schooling Resources, Educational Institutions, and Student Performance: The International Evidence," Kiel Working Papers, Kiel Institute for the World Economy 983, Kiel Institute for the World Economy.
  4. Effinger, M.R. & Polborn, M.K., 1997. "A Model of Vertically Differenciated Education," Papers, Toulouse - GREMAQ 97.469, Toulouse - GREMAQ.
  5. Summers, Anita A & Wolfe, Barbara L, 1977. "Do Schools Make a Difference?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, American Economic Association, vol. 67(4), pages 639-52, September.
  6. 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).
  7. Ariga, Kenn & Brunello, Giorgio & Iwahashi, Roki & Rocco, Lorenzo, 2005. "Why Is the Timing of School Tracking So Heterogeneous?," IZA Discussion Papers 1854, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  8. Costas Meghir & Mårten Palme, 2004. "Educational reform, ability and family background," IFS Working Papers, Institute for Fiscal Studies W04/10, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  9. Judson, Ruth, 1998. " Economic Growth and Investment in Education: How Allocation Matters," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, Springer, vol. 3(4), pages 337-59, December.
  10. Bauer, Philipp & Riphahn, Regina T., 2006. "Timing of school tracking as a determinant of intergenerational transmission of education," Economics Letters, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 91(1), pages 90-97, April.
  11. Dennis Epple & Elizabeth Newlon & Richard Romano, 2000. "Ability Tracking, School Competition, and the Distribution of Educational Benefits," NBER Working Papers 7854, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Figlio, David N. & Page, Marianne E., 2002. "School Choice and the Distributional Effects of Ability Tracking: Does Separation Increase Inequality?," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 51(3), pages 497-514, May.
  13. Edward P. Lazear, 1999. "Educational Production," NBER Working Papers 7349, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Costrell, Robert M, 1994. "A Simple Model of Educational Standards," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, American Economic Association, vol. 84(4), pages 956-71, September.
  15. Laura M. Argys & Daniel I. Rees & Dominic J. Brewer, 1996. "Detracking America's schools: Equity at zero cost?," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 15(4), pages 623-645.
  16. Arnott, Richard & Rowse, John, 1987. "Peer group effects and educational attainment," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 32(3), pages 287-305, April.
  17. Ariga, Kenn & Brunello, Giorgio & Iwahashi, Roki & Rocco, Lorenzo, 2006. "On the Efficiency Costs of De-tracking Secondary Schools," IZA Discussion Papers 2534, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  18. Henderson, Vernon & Mieszkowski, Peter & Sauvageau, Yvon, 1978. "Peer group effects and educational production functions," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 10(1), pages 97-106, August.
  19. Ron W Zimmer & Eugenia F Toma, 2000. "Peer effects in private and public schools across countries," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 19(1), pages 75-92.
  20. Brunello, Giorgio & Giannini, Massimo & Ariga, Kenn, 2004. "The Optimal Timing of School Tracking," IZA Discussion Papers 995, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  21. Zimmer, Ron, 2003. "A new twist in the educational tracking debate," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 22(3), pages 307-315, June.
  22. Volker Meier, 2004. "Choosing between School Systems: The Risk of Failure," FinanzArchiv: Public Finance Analysis, Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen, Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen, vol. 60(1), pages 83-, April.
  23. Rees, D. I. & Brewer, D. J. & Argys, L. M., 1999. "How should we measure the effect of ability grouping on student performance?," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 19(1), pages 17-20, February.
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Cited by:
  1. Marc Piopiunik, 2011. "Microeconometric Analyses of Education Production in Germany," ifo Beiträge zur Wirtschaftsforschung, Ifo Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich, Ifo Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich, number 40, 8.
  2. Wößmann, Ludger, 2009. "International evidence on school tracking: A review," Munich Reprints in Economics, University of Munich, Department of Economics 19686, University of Munich, Department of Economics.

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