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The Measurement of Educational Inequality: Achievement and Opportunity

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Author Info

  • Francisco H. G. Ferreira

    (The World Bank - The World Bank, IZA - Institute for the Study of Labor - IZA)

  • Jérémie Gignoux

    (PSE - Paris-Jourdan Sciences Economiques - CNRS : UMR8545 - École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales (EHESS) - École des Ponts ParisTech (ENPC) - École normale supérieure [ENS] - Paris - Institut national de la recherche agronomique (INRA), EEP-PSE - Ecole d'Économie de Paris - Paris School of Economics - Ecole d'Économie de Paris)

Abstract

This paper proposes two related measures of educational inequality: one for educational achievement and another for educational opportunity. The former is the simple variance (or standard deviation) of test scores. It is selected after careful consideration of two measurement issues that have typically been overlooked in the literature: the implications of the standardization of test scores for inequality indices, and the possible sample selection biases arising from the PISA sampling frame. The measure of inequality of educational opportunity is given by the share of the variance in test scores which is explained by pre-determined circumstances. Both measures are computed for the 57 countries in which PISA surveys were conducted in 2006. Inequality of opportunity accounts for up to 35% of all disparities in educational achievement. It is greater in (most of) continental Europe and Latin America than in Asia, Scandinavia and North America. It is uncorrelated with average educational achievement and only weakly negatively correlated with per capita GDP. It correlates negatively with the share of spending in primary schooling, and positively with tracking in secondary schools.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by HAL in its series PSE Working Papers with number halshs-00646594.

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Date of creation: Nov 2011
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Handle: RePEc:hal:psewpa:halshs-00646594

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Keywords: Educational inequality ; Educational achievement ; Inequality of opportunity;

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References

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  1. Hanushek, Eric A. & Woessmann, Ludger, 2005. "Does Educational Tracking Affect Performance and Inequality? Differences-in-Differences Evidence across Countries," IZA Discussion Papers 1901, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  2. Bourguignon, François & Ferreira, Francisco & Menéndez, Marta, 2007. "Inequality of Opportunity in Brazil," Economics Papers from University Paris Dauphine 123456789/1552, Paris Dauphine University.
  3. Jörn-Steffen Pischke & Alan Manning, 2006. "Comprehensive versus Selective Schooling in England in Wales: What Do We Know?," NBER Working Papers 12176, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Daniele Checchi & Vito Peragine, 2010. "Inequality of opportunity in Italy," Journal of Economic Inequality, Springer, vol. 8(4), pages 429-450, December.
  5. Gabriela Schütz & Heinrich Ursprung & Ludger Woessmann, 2005. "Education Policy and Equality of Opportunity," CESifo Working Paper Series 1518, CESifo Group Munich.
  6. Daniele Checchi & Giorgio Brunello, 2006. "Does School Tracking Affect Equality of Opportunity? New International Evidence," UNIMI - Research Papers in Economics, Business, and Statistics unimi-1044, Universitá degli Studi di Milano.
  7. Fields, Gary S. & Ok, Efe A., 1996. "The Meaning and Measurement of Income Mobility," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 71(2), pages 349-377, November.
  8. repec:pse:psecon:2007-12 is not listed on IDEAS
  9. Macdonald, Kevin & Barrera, Felipe & Guaqueta, Juliana & Patrinos, Harry Anthony & Porta, Emilio, 2010. "The determinants of wealth and gender inequity in cognitive skills in Latin America," Policy Research Working Paper Series 5189, The World Bank.
  10. Ferreira, Francisco H. G. & Gignoux, Jeremie & Aran, Meltem, 2010. "Measuring inequality of opportunity with imperfect data : the case of Turkey," Policy Research Working Paper Series 5204, The World Bank.
  11. Giorgina Brown & John Micklewright & Sylke V. Schnepf & Robert Waldmann, 2007. "International surveys of educational achievement: how robust are the findings?," Journal of the Royal Statistical Society Series A, Royal Statistical Society, vol. 170(3), pages 623-646.
  12. Christian Morrisson & Fabrice Murtin, 2007. "Education inequalities and the Kuznets curves: a global perspective since 1870," PSE Working Papers halshs-00588085, HAL.
  13. 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.
  14. repec:qed:wpaper:947 is not listed on IDEAS
  15. 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).
  16. Bedard, Kelly & Ferrall, Christopher, 2003. "Wage and test score dispersion: some international evidence," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 22(1), pages 31-43, February.
  17. Christian Morrisson & Fabrice Murtin, 2007. "Education inequalities and the Kuznets curves: a global perspective since 1870," Working Papers halshs-00588085, HAL.
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Citations

Blog mentions

As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
  1. The measurement of educational inequality: Achievement and opportunity
    by maximorossi in NEP-LTV blog on 2011-12-16 13:50:17
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Cited by:
  1. John Jerrim & Álvaro Choi, 2013. "The mathematics skills of school children: how does England compare to the high performing east Asian jurisdictions?," Working Papers 2013/12, Institut d'Economia de Barcelona (IEB).
  2. John Jerrim & Alvaro Choi, 2013. "The mathematics skills of school children: How does England compare to the high performing East Asian jurisdictions?," DoQSS Working Papers 13-03, Department of Quantitative Social Science - Institute of Education, University of London.
  3. World Bank, 2012. "Monitoring Basic Opportunities throughout the Lifecycle with the Human Opportunity Index in Chile," World Bank Other Operational Studies 11919, The World Bank.
  4. Isabelle Joumard & Juliana Londoño Vélez, 2013. "Income Inequality and Poverty in Colombia - Part 1. The Role of the Labour Market," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 1036, OECD Publishing.
  5. Márcia de Carvalho & Luis Fernando Gamboa & Fábio D. Waltenberg, 2012. "Equality of Educational Ppportunity Employing PISA Data: Taking both Achievement and Access into Account," Working Papers 277, ECINEQ, Society for the Study of Economic Inequality.
  6. 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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