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What are the causes of educational inequality and of its evolution over time in Europe? Evidence from PISA


  • Veruska Oppedisano
  • Gilberto Turati


This paper provides evidence on the sources of differences in inequality in educational scores and their evolution over time in four European countries. Using Programme for International Student Assessment data from the 2000 and the 2006 waves, the paper shows that inequality decreased in Germany and Spain (two 'decentralised' schooling systems), whilst it increased in France and Italy (two 'centralised' systems). The decomposition exercise shows that educational inequality not only does reflect the background related inequality, but also schools' characteristics especially. These characteristics are responsible for the observed evolution over time of inequality.

Suggested Citation

  • Veruska Oppedisano & Gilberto Turati, 2015. "What are the causes of educational inequality and of its evolution over time in Europe? Evidence from PISA," Education Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 23(1), pages 3-24, February.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:edecon:v:23:y:2015:i:1:p:3-24
    DOI: 10.1080/09645292.2012.736475

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    3. Ã lvaro Choi & John Jerrim, 2015. "The use (and misuse) of PISA in guiding policy reform: the case of Spain?," DoQSS Working Papers 15-04, Quantitative Social Science - UCL Social Research Institute, University College London.
    4. Alejandro Bayas & Nicolas Grau, 2021. "Inequality of Opportunity and Juvenile Crime," Working Papers wp524, University of Chile, Department of Economics.
    5. Yuliya Kersha, 2020. "School Socioeconomic Composition as a Factor of Educational Inequality Reproduction," Voprosy obrazovaniya / Educational Studies Moscow, National Research University Higher School of Economics, issue 4, pages 85-112.
    6. Paolo Brunori & Paul Hufe & Daniel Gerszon Mahler, 2017. "The Roots of Inequality: Estimating Inequality of Opportunity from Regression Trees," Working Papers - Economics wp2017_18.rdf, Universita' degli Studi di Firenze, Dipartimento di Scienze per l'Economia e l'Impresa.
    7. Jerrim, John & Lopez-Agudo, Luis Alejandro & Marcenaro-Gutierrez, Oscar D. & Shure, Nikki, 2017. "What happens when econometrics and psychometrics collide? An example using the PISA data," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 61(C), pages 51-58.
    8. Tommaso Agasisti & Francesco Avvisati & Francesca Borgonovi & Sergio Longobardi, 2021. "What School Factors are Associated with the Success of Socio-Economically Disadvantaged Students? An Empirical Investigation Using PISA Data," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 157(2), pages 749-781, September.
    9. Tommaso Agasisti & Sergio Longobardi & Vincenzo Prete & Felice Russo, 2018. "Multidimensional poverty measures for analysing educational poverty in European countries," Working papers 73, Società Italiana di Economia Pubblica.
    10. Perera, Liyanage Devangi H. & Asadullah, M. Niaz, 2019. "Mind the gap: What explains Malaysia’s underperformance in Pisa?," International Journal of Educational Development, Elsevier, vol. 65(C), pages 254-263.
    11. Luis Fernando Gamboa & Erika Londoño, 2015. "Assessing Educational Unfair Inequalities at a Regional Level in Colombia," Lecturas de Economía, Universidad de Antioquia, Departamento de Economía, issue 83, pages 97-133, Julio - D.
    12. Crouch, Luis & Rolleston, Caine & Gustafsson, Martin, 2021. "Eliminating global learning poverty: The importance of equalities and equity," International Journal of Educational Development, Elsevier, vol. 82(C).
    13. Orazio Giancola & Luca Salmieri, 2020. "Family Background, School-Track and Macro-Area: the Complex Chains of Education Inequalities in Italy," Working Papers 4/20, Sapienza University of Rome, DISS.
    14. Керша Ю. Д., 2020. "Социально-Экономическая Композиция Школы Как Фактор Воспроизводства Неравенства В Образовании," Вопросы образования // Educational Studies Moscow, National Research University Higher School of Economics, issue 4, pages 85-112.
    15. Angelica Hobjilă, 2019. "The Idea of “Inequality” in Alternative Textbooks for Primary School," Revista romaneasca pentru educatie multidimensionala - Journal for Multidimensional Education, Editura Lumen, Department of Economics, vol. 11(1), pages 301-311, March.

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