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Why does academic achievement vary across countries? Evidence from Cuba and Mexico

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  • Patrick Mcewan
  • Jeffery Marshall

Abstract

International assessments of academic achievement are common. They are usually accompanied by attempts to infer the determinants of cross-country achievement gaps, but these inferences have little empirical foundation. This paper applies the Blinder-Oaxaca decomposition to the problem of explaining why primary students in Cuban schools score than Mexican students, on average, 1.3 standard deviations higher. The results suggest that no more than 30% of the difference can be explained by differing endowments of family, peer, and school variables. Of these, peer-group variables and, to a lesser extent, family variables explain the largest portion of the gap.

Suggested Citation

  • Patrick Mcewan & Jeffery Marshall, 2004. "Why does academic achievement vary across countries? Evidence from Cuba and Mexico," Education Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 12(3), pages 205-217.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:edecon:v:12:y:2004:i:3:p:205-217
    DOI: 10.1080/0964529042000258572
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Bookwalter, Jeffrey & Fitch-Fleischmann, Benjamin & Dalenberg, Douglas, 2011. "Understanding life-satisfaction changes in post-apartheid South Africa," MPRA Paper 34579, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    2. Kitae Sohn, 2012. "A New Insight Into The Gender Gap In Math," Bulletin of Economic Research, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 64(1), pages 135-155, January.
    3. Fortin, Nicole & Lemieux, Thomas & Firpo, Sergio, 2011. "Decomposition Methods in Economics," Handbook of Labor Economics, Elsevier.
    4. Botezat Alina, 2012. "Decomposing The Gap In School Achievement Between Finland And Romania '" Some Methodological Aspects," Annals of Faculty of Economics, University of Oradea, Faculty of Economics, vol. 1(2), pages 165-171, December.
    5. Sakellariou, Chris, 2012. "Decomposing the increase in TIMSS Scores in Ghana : 2003-2007," Policy Research Working Paper Series 6084, The World Bank.
    6. Kitae Sohn, 2012. "The dynamics of the evolution of the Black--White test score gap," Education Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 20(2), pages 175-188, April.
    7. Emiliana Vegas & Ilana Umansky, 2005. "Improving Teaching and Learning through Effective Incentives : What Can We Learn from Education Reforms in Latin America?," World Bank Other Operational Studies 8694, The World Bank.
    8. Alina Botezat & Ruben R. Seiberlich, 2013. "Educational performance gaps in Eastern Europe," The Economics of Transition, The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, vol. 21(4), pages 731-756, October.
    9. Marenya, Paswel & Kassie, Menale & Jaleta, Moti & Rahut, Dil Bahadur, 2015. "Does gender of the household head explain smallholder farmers' maize market positions? Evidence from Ethiopia," 2015 Conference, August 9-14, 2015, Milan, Italy 212229, International Association of Agricultural Economists.
    10. Amini, Chiara & Nivorozhkin, Eugene, 2015. "The urban–rural divide in educational outcomes: Evidence from Russia," International Journal of Educational Development, Elsevier, vol. 44(C), pages 118-133.

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