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Sorting and Private Education in Italy

  • Bertola, Giuseppe
  • Checchi, Daniele

This Paper discusses reforms of Italian secondary schools’ curriculum and funding in light of theoretical considerations, of the experience of other countries, and of empirical evidence. We briefly review socio-economic views on the schooling system’s role in shaping the social structure and productive potential of new generations. The current structure of the Italian secondary school system lets the student population sort itself, on the basis of individuals’ financial and cultural background, along both vocational versus comprehensive and public versus private dimensions. We characterize the outcome of this sorting, and its relationship to further educational experience, with a statistical analysis of a sample of University students. Not surprisingly, we find that in Italy Catholic private schools play a different role from that of their American counterparts, which have been found to improve the performance of relatively poor students. Italian confessional and other private schools appear to cater to the needs of relatively less talented students from relatively rich family backgrounds.

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Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 3198.

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Date of creation: Feb 2002
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Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:3198
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  1. Fernandez, Raquel & Gali, Jordi, 1997. "To Each According to ...?: Markets, Tournaments, and The Matching Problem with Borrowing Constraints," Working Papers 97-11, C.V. Starr Center for Applied Economics, New York University.
  2. Rubinstein, Yona & Tsiddon, Daniel, 1999. "Coping with Technological Progress: The Role of Ability in Making Inequality so Persistent," CEPR Discussion Papers 2153, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  3. Gradstein, Mark & Justman, Moshe, 2001. "Public Education and the Melting Pot," CEPR Discussion Papers 2924, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  4. G. Boero & A. Mcknight & R. Naylor & J. Smith, 2001. "Graduates and graduate labour markets in the UK and Italy," Working Paper CRENoS 200111, Centre for North South Economic Research, University of Cagliari and Sassari, Sardinia.
  5. Caroline Hoxby, 2000. "Peer Effects in the Classroom: Learning from Gender and Race Variation," NBER Working Papers 7867, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Evans, William N & Schwab, Robert M, 1995. "Finishing High School and Starting College: Do Catholic Schools Make a Difference?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 110(4), pages 941-74, November.
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