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Schools, Ability, and the Socioeconomic Gradient in Education Choices


  • Torberg Falch
  • Bjarne Strom


This paper provides evidence on the socioeconomic gradient in dropout and progression in upper secondary education in Norway. Using a rich data set covering all students transferring from compulsory education to upper secondary education in 2002, we find that student achievement at the end of compulsory school is the main predictor of dropout and delayed progression. The socioeconomic gradient is sensitive to the inclusion of prior achievement in the model. We find that the gradient is modest and non-linear, and related to dropout behavior and not grade repetition. The results are remarkably robust to controlling for a full set of school fixed effects.

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  • Torberg Falch & Bjarne Strom, 2011. "Schools, Ability, and the Socioeconomic Gradient in Education Choices," CESifo Working Paper Series 3313, CESifo Group Munich.
  • Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_3313

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Eric Bettinger & Torbjørn Haegeland & Mari Rege, 2014. "Home with Mom: The Effects of Stay-at-Home Parents on Children's Long-Run Educational Outcomes," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 32(3), pages 443-467.
    2. Nina Drange & Kjetil Telle, 2017. "Preschool and school performance of children from immigrant families," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 52(2), pages 825-867, March.
    3. Kristine Simson, 2015. "Explaining upper secondary school dropout: new evidence on the role of local labor markets," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 48(4), pages 1419-1444, June.
    4. Falch, Torberg & Lujala, Päivi & Strøm, Bjarne, 2013. "Geographical constraints and educational attainment," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 43(1), pages 164-176.
    5. Reiling, Rune Borgan, 2016. "Does size matter? Educational attainment and cohort size," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 94(C), pages 73-89.
    6. Tamás Keller & Guido Neidhöfer, 2014. "Who Dares, Wins?: A Sibling Analysis of Tertiary Education Transition in Germany," SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research 713, DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP).
    7. Simon Søbstad Bensnes & Bjarne Strøm, 2015. "Earning or learning? The impact of relaxing shop opening hours restrictions on youth employment, education and earnings," Working Paper Series 16515, Department of Economics, Norwegian University of Science and Technology.
    8. Brugård, Kaja Høiseth & Falch, Torberg, 2013. "Post-compulsory education and imprisonment," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 23(C), pages 97-106.

    More about this item


    high school dropout; socioeconomic gradient; student achievement;

    JEL classification:

    • H42 - Public Economics - - Publicly Provided Goods - - - Publicly Provided Private Goods
    • I20 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - General
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity


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