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The Measurement of Educational Inequality: Achievement and Opportunity

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  • Ferreira, Francisco H. G.

    ()
    (World Bank)

  • Gignoux, Jérémie

    ()
    (Paris School of Economics)

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. Its selection is informed by 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 Program of International Student Assessment (PISA) sampling frame. The measure of inequality of educational opportunity is given by the share of the variance in test scores that 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 percent 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 gross domestic product. 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 Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 6161.

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Length: 43 pages
Date of creation: Nov 2011
Date of revision:
Publication status: published in: World Bank Economic Review, 2013, [Online First]
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp6161

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Keywords: educational achievement; inequality of opportunity; educational inequality;

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References

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  1. François Bourguignon & Francisco H. G. Ferreira & Marta Menéndez, 2007. "Inequality Of Opportunity In Brazil," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 53(4), pages 585-618, December.
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  3. 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.
  4. Checchi, Daniele & Peragine, Vito, 2005. "Regional Disparities and Inequality of Opportunity: The Case of Italy," IZA Discussion Papers 1874, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  5. Brunello, Giorgio & Checchi, Daniele, 2006. "Does School Tracking Affect Equality of Opportunity? New International Evidence," IZA Discussion Papers 2348, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  6. Fields, Gary S. & Ok, Efe A., 1996. "The Meaning and Measurement of Income Mobility," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 71(2), pages 349-377, November.
  7. 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).
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  9. Daniele Checchi & Vito Peragine, 2010. "Inequality of opportunity in Italy," Journal of Economic Inequality, Springer, Springer, vol. 8(4), pages 429-450, December.
  10. Manning, Alan & Pischke, Jörn-Steffen, 2006. "Comprehensive versus Selective Schooling in England and Wales: What Do We Know?," CEPR Discussion Papers, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers 5653, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  11. Francisco Ferreira & Jérémie Gignoux & Meltem Aran, 2011. "Measuring inequality of opportunity with imperfect data: the case of Turkey," Journal of Economic Inequality, Springer, Springer, vol. 9(4), pages 651-680, December.
  12. Birdsall, Nancy, 1996. "Public spending on higher education in developing countries: Too much or too little?," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 15(4), pages 407-419, October.
  13. Bedard, Kelly & Ferrall, Christopher, 2003. "Wage and test score dispersion: some international evidence," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 22(1), pages 31-43, February.
  14. 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).
  15. 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.
  16. 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, Elsevier, vol. 31(5), pages 694-708.
  17. 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.
  18. repec:pse:psecon:2007-12 is not listed on IDEAS
  19. repec:qed:wpaper:947 is not listed on IDEAS
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  21. Christian Morrisson & Fabrice Murtin, 2007. "Education inequalities and the Kuznets curves: a global perspective since 1870," PSE 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 Maximo Rossi in Wikiprogress América Latina on 2012-06-04 14:04:00
  2. 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. Márcia de Carvalho & Luis Fernando Gamboa & Fábio D. Waltenberg, 2012. "Equality of educational opportunity employing PISA data: taking both achievement and access into account," DOCUMENTOS DE TRABAJO 010239, UNIVERSIDAD DEL ROSARIO.
  2. 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.
  3. 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, Department of Quantitative Social Science - Institute of Education, University of London 13-03, Department of Quantitative Social Science - Institute of Education, University of London.
  4. 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, Elsevier, vol. 31(5), pages 694-708.
  5. 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.
  6. 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).

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