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What Does it Take to Achieve Equality of Opportunity in Education ? An Empirical Investigation Based on Brazilian Data

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  • F.D., WALTENBERG

    (UNIVERSITE CATHOLIQUE DE LOUVAIN, Department of Economics)

  • V. , VANDENBERGHE

    (UNIVERSITE CATHOLIQUE DE LOUVAIN, Department of Economics)

Abstract

Roemer s’ 1998 seminal work on equality of opportunity has contributed to the emergence of a theory of justice that is modern, conceptually clear and easy to mobilize in policy design. In this paper, we apply Roemer’s theory to education policy. We first analyze the reallocations of educational expenditure required to equalize opportunities (taken to be test scores close to the end of compulsory education). Using Brazilian data, we find that implementing an equal-opportunity policy across pupils of different socio-economic background, by using per-pupil spending as the instrucment, and ensuring that nobody receives less that 1/3 of the current national average, requires multiplying by 8.6 the current level of spending on the lowest achieving pupils. This result is driven by the extremely low elasticity of scores to per-pupil spending. As such, it implies large reallocations that are probably politically unacceptable. By exploiting our knowledge of the education production function, we then identify ways of reducing financial reallocations needed to achieve equality of opportunity. We show that the simultaneous redistribution of monetary and non-moneary inputs, like peer group quality (i.e. desegregation) and school effectiveness (i.e. equalizing access to the best-run schools), considerably reduces - by almost 50% - the magnitude of financial redistribution needed. Implementing an EOp policy would not come at any particular cost (or benefit) in terms of efficiency

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Université catholique de Louvain, Département des Sciences Economiques in its series Discussion Papers (ECON - Département des Sciences Economiques) with number 2005055.

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Length: 28
Date of creation: 01 Dec 2005
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:ctl:louvec:2005055

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Keywords: Equality of Opportunity; Education; Formula Funding;

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References

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  1. François Bourguignon & Francisco H.G. Ferreira & Marta Menéndez, 2003. "Inequality of Outcomes and Inequality of Opportunities in Brazil," William Davidson Institute Working Papers Series 2003-630, William Davidson Institute at the University of Michigan.
  2. Thomas Fuchs & Ludger Wößmann, 2007. "What accounts for international differences in student performance? A re-examination using PISA data," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 32(2), pages 433-464, May.
  3. John Roemer & Julian R. Betts, 2003. "Equalizing educational opportunity through educational finance reform," Working Papers 998, University of California, Davis, Department of Economics.
  4. Rosalind Levacic & Stephen Machin & David Reynolds & Anna Vignoles & James Walker, 2000. "The Relationship between Resource Allocation and Pupil Attainment: A Review," CEE Discussion Papers 0002, Centre for the Economics of Education, LSE.
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  7. Grossman, Michael, 2006. "Education and Nonmarket Outcomes," Handbook of the Economics of Education, Elsevier.
  8. Sen, Amartya, 2000. "Social justice and the distribution of income," Handbook of Income Distribution, in: A.B. Atkinson & F. Bourguignon (ed.), Handbook of Income Distribution, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 1, pages 59-85 Elsevier.
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  16. V. Vandenberghe, 2002. "Evaluating the magnitude and the stakes of peer effects analysing science and math achievement across OECD," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 34(10), pages 1283-1290.
  17. Joshua D. Angrist & Kevin Lang, 2004. "Does School Integration Generate Peer Effects? Evidence from Boston's Metco Program," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(5), pages 1613-1634, December.
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Cited by:
  1. Luis Fernando Gamboa & Fábio D. Waltenberg, 2011. "Inequality of opportunity in educational achievement in Latin America: evidence from PISA 2006-2009," DOCUMENTOS DE TRABAJO 008895, UNIVERSIDAD DEL ROSARIO.
  2. Magali Jaoul-Grammare & Brice Magdalou, 2013. "Opportunities in Higher Education: An Application in France," Working Papers 13-05, LAMETA, Universtiy of Montpellier, revised Mar 2013.
  3. Mongan, Juan Carlos & Santin, Daniel & Valiño, Aurelia, 2011. "Towards the equality of educational opportunity in the province of Buenos Aires," Journal of Policy Modeling, Elsevier, vol. 33(4), pages 583-596, July.
  4. Paolo Brunori & Vito Peragine & Laura Serlenga, 2010. "Fairness in education: The Italian university before and after the reform," Working Papers 175, ECINEQ, Society for the Study of Economic Inequality.
  5. Gamboa, Luis Fernando & Waltenberg, Fábio D., 2012. "Inequality of opportunity for educational achievement in Latin America: Evidence from PISA 2006–2009," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 31(5), pages 694-708.

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