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On the Efficiency Costs of Detracking Secondary Schools

  • Kenn Ariga
  • Giorgio Brunello
  • Roki Iwahashi
  • Lorenzo Rocco

During the postwar period, many countries have de-tracked their secondary schools, based on the view that early tracking was unfair. What are the efficiency costs, if any, of de- tracking schools? To answer this question, we develop a two skills - two jobs model with a frictional labour market, where new school graduates need to actively search for their best match. We compute optimal tracking length and the output gain/loss associated to the gap between actual and optimal tracking length. Using a sample of 18 countries, we find that: a) actual tracking length is often longer than optimal, which might call for some efficient de-tracking; b) the output loss of having a tracking length longer or shorter than optimal is sizeable, and close to 2 percent of total net output.

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Paper provided by Collegio Carlo Alberto in its series Carlo Alberto Notebooks with number 35.

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Length: 54 pages
Date of creation: 2006
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:cca:wpaper:35
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  1. E. Paul Durrenberger, 2005. "Labour," Chapters, in: A Handbook of Economic Anthropology, chapter 8 Edward Elgar.
  2. Ariga, Kenn & Brunello, Giorgio & Iwahashi, Roki & Rocco, Lorenzo, 2005. "Why Is the Timing of School Tracking So Heterogeneous?," IZA Discussion Papers 1854, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  3. Lamo, Ana & Messina, Julián & Wasmer, Etienne, 2011. "Are specific skills an obstacle to labor market adjustment?," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 18(2), pages 240-256, April.
  4. Giorgio Brunello & Daniele Checchi, 2007. "Does school tracking affect equality of opportunity? New international evidence," Economic Policy, CEPR;CES;MSH, vol. 22, pages 781-861, October.
  5. 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).
  6. Card, David & Krueger, Alan B, 1992. "Does School Quality Matter? Returns to Education and the Characteristics of Public Schools in the United States," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 100(1), pages 1-40, February.
  7. Caroline Hoxby, 2000. "Peer Effects in the Classroom: Learning from Gender and Race Variation," NBER Working Papers 7867, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Yashiv, E., 1999. "The Determinants of Equilibrium Unemployment," Papers 36-99, Tel Aviv.
  9. Meghir, Costas & Palme, Mårten, 1999. "Assessing the Effect of Schooling on Earnings Using a Social Experiment," SSE/EFI Working Paper Series in Economics and Finance 313, Stockholm School of Economics.
  10. Roland Benabou, 1999. "Tax and Education Policy in a Heterogeneous Agent Economy: What Levels of Redistribution Maximize Growth and Efficiency?," NBER Working Papers 7132, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Hanushek, Eric & Charles Ka Yui Leung & Kuzey Yilmaz, 2002. "Redistribution through Education and Other Transfer Mechanisms," Royal Economic Society Annual Conference 2002 94, Royal Economic Society.
  12. Richard Rogerson & Robert Shimer & Randall Wright, 2004. "Search-Theoretic Models of the Labor Market-A Survey," NBER Working Papers 10655, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Alain Delacroix & Shouyong Shi, 2006. "Directed Search On The Job And The Wage Ladder," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 47(2), pages 651-699, 05.
  14. James W. Albrecht & Pieter A. Gautier & Susan B. Vroman, 2001. "Matching with Multiple Applications," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 01-080/3, Tinbergen Institute.
  15. James J. Heckman & Jora Stixrud & Sergio Urzua, 2006. "The Effects of Cognitive and Noncognitive Abilities on Labor Market Outcomes and Social Behavior," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 24(3), pages 411-482, July.
  16. Brunello, Giorgio & Giannini, Massimo & Ariga, Kenn, 2004. "The Optimal Timing of School Tracking," IZA Discussion Papers 995, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
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