IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

The quality of the Catalan and Spanish education systems: A perspective from PISA


  • Ciccone, Antonio

    () (Universitat Pompeu Fabra)

  • Garcia-Fontes, Walter

    (Universitat Pompeu Fabra)


For Catalonia and Spain, public perception is that the PISA reports show that their education systems are underperforming. The goal of this chapter is to quantify how much of the Catalan and Spanish PISA score can be attributed to the education levels of parents and what part must instead be explained by other factors. To do so we use standard statistical techniques to examine how the Catalan and Spanish PISA score would have compared with other countries and regions if all had the same parental education levels and immigration levels. For Spain the main results show that there is a sizable increase in PISA scores relative to the rest of Europe when parental schooling is accounted for. But Spain's performance is rather poor to start out with and only rises to somewhat above average when accounting for parental education levels. For Catalonia accounting for parental education levels leads to small improvements in the PISA score compared to other Spanish regions and to Flanders, Lombardy, and Denmark. Moreover, immigration or the concentration of immigrants at some schools accounts for little of the below average performance of Catalonia.

Suggested Citation

  • Ciccone, Antonio & Garcia-Fontes, Walter, 2009. "The quality of the Catalan and Spanish education systems: A perspective from PISA," IESE Research Papers D/810, IESE Business School.
  • Handle: RePEc:ebg:iesewp:d-0810

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Betts, Julian R. & Fairlie, Robert W., 2003. "Does immigration induce 'native flight' from public schools into private schools?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 87(5-6), pages 987-1012, May.
    2. Eric A. Hanushek, 2005. "The Economics of School Quality," German Economic Review, Verein für Socialpolitik, vol. 6(3), pages 269-286, August.
    3. Thomas Fuchs & Ludger Wößmann, 2007. "What accounts for international differences in student performance? A re-examination using PISA data," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 32(2), pages 433-464, May.
    4. repec:fth:prinin:366 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. David Card & Alan B. Krueger, 1996. "School Resources and Student Outcomes: An Overview of the Literature and New Evidence from North and South Carolina," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 10(4), pages 31-50, Fall.
    6. Angel de la Fuente & Rafael Domenech & Juan Francisco Jimeno, 2003. "Human capital as a factor of growth and employment at the regional level. The case of Spain," UFAE and IAE Working Papers 610.04, Unitat de Fonaments de l'Anàlisi Econòmica (UAB) and Institut d'Anàlisi Econòmica (CSIC).
    7. Eric A. Hanushek, 1996. "Measuring Investment in Education," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 10(4), pages 9-30, Fall.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    Blog mentions

    As found by, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
    1. Teaching Stata
      by Kevin Denny in Geary Behaviour Centre on 2009-11-22 18:49:00


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Francesc Obiols-Homs & Virginia Sánchez-Marcos, 2015. "Education, Occupation-Mismatch and Unemployment," Working Papers 807, Barcelona Graduate School of Economics.
    2. Ildefonso Méndez Martínez & Antonio Villar Notario & Carmen Herrero Blanco, 2013. "Analysis of group performance with categorical data when agents are heterogeneous: The case of compulsory education in the OECD," Working Papers. Serie AD 2013-08, Instituto Valenciano de Investigaciones Económicas, S.A. (Ivie).
    3. González De San Román, Ainara & De La Rica, Sara, 2016. "Gender Gaps in PISA Test Scores: The Impact of Social Norms and the Mother?s Transmission of Role Attitudes /Brechas de género en los resultados de PISA: El impacto de las normas sociales y la transmi," Estudios de Economía Aplicada, Estudios de Economía Aplicada, vol. 34, pages 79-108, Enero.
    4. González de San Román, Ainara & de la Rica, Sara, 2012. "Gender Gaps in PISA Test Scores: The Impact of Social Norms and the Mother's Transmission of Role Attitudes," IZA Discussion Papers 6338, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    5. Herrero, Carmen & Mendez, Ildefonso & Villar, Antonio, 2014. "Analysis of group performance with categorical data when agents are heterogeneous: The evaluation of scholastic performance in the OECD through PISA," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 40(C), pages 140-151.
    6. Luis Miguel Doncel & Jorge Sainz & Ismael Sanz, 2012. "An Estimation of the Advantage of Charter over Public Schools," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 65(4), pages 442-463, November.
    7. Tanaka, Ryuichi & Farré, Lídia & Ortega, Francesc, 2014. "Immigration, Naturalization, and the Future of Public Education," IZA Discussion Papers 8342, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    8. Natalia Zinovyeva & Florentino Felgueroso & Pablo Vazquez, 2014. "Immigration and student achievement in Spain: evidence from PISA," SERIEs: Journal of the Spanish Economic Association, Springer;Spanish Economic Association, vol. 5(1), pages 25-60, March.

    More about this item


    Catalan education systems; Spanish education systems;

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:ebg:iesewp:d-0810. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Noelia Romero). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.