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The Measurement of Educational Inequality: Achievement and Opportunity

Author

Listed:
  • Francisco H. G. Ferreira

    (The World Bank - The World Bank, IZA - Institute for the Study of Labor - IZA)

  • Jérémie Gignoux

    () (PSE - Paris-Jourdan Sciences Economiques - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique - ENPC - École des Ponts ParisTech - EHESS - École des hautes études en sciences sociales - INRA - Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique - ENS Paris - École normale supérieure - Paris, PSE - Paris School of Economics)

Abstract

Two related measures of educational inequality are proposed: one for educational achievement and another for educational opportunity. The former is the simple variance (or standard deviation) of test scores. Its selection is informed by consideration of two measurement issues that have typically been overlooked in the literature: the implications of the standardization of test scores for inequality indices, and the possible sample selection biases arising from the Program of International Student Assessment (PISA) sampling frame. The measure of inequality of educational opportunity is given by the share of the variance in test scores that is explained by pre-determined circumstances. Both measures are computed for the 57 countries in which PISA surveys were conducted in 2006. Inequality of opportunity accounts for up to 35 percent of all disparities in educational achievement. It is greater in (most of) continental Europe and Latin America than in Asia, Scandinavia, and North America. It is uncorrelated with average educational achievement and only weakly negatively correlated with per capita gross domestic product. It correlates negatively with the share of spending in primary schooling, and positively with tracking in secondary schools.

Suggested Citation

  • Francisco H. G. Ferreira & Jérémie Gignoux, 2014. "The Measurement of Educational Inequality: Achievement and Opportunity," PSE - Labex "OSE-Ouvrir la Science Economique" halshs-01030825, HAL.
  • Handle: RePEc:hal:pseose:halshs-01030825
    DOI: 10.1093/wber/lht004
    Note: View the original document on HAL open archive server: https://halshs.archives-ouvertes.fr/halshs-01030825
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    Cited by:

    1. Paul Hufe & Ravi Kanbur & Andreas Peichl, 2018. "Measuring Unfair Inequality: Reconciling Equality of Opportunity and Freedom from Poverty," CESifo Working Paper Series 7119, CESifo Group Munich.
    2. repec:nse:ecosta:ecostat_2018_499_4 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Johanna Fajardo-Gonzalez, 2016. "Inequality of opportunity in adult health in Colombia," The Journal of Economic Inequality, Springer;Society for the Study of Economic Inequality, vol. 14(4), pages 395-416, December.
    4. Fochesato, Mattia & Bowles, Samuel, 2015. "Nordic exceptionalism? Social democratic egalitarianism in world-historic perspective," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 127(C), pages 30-44.
    5. Figueirêdo, Erik Alencar de & Nogueira, Lauro César Bezerra & Santana, Fernanda Leite, 2014. "Igualdade de Oportunidades: Analisando o papel das circunstâncias no desempenho do ENEM," Revista Brasileira de Economia - RBE, FGV/EPGE - Escola Brasileira de Economia e Finanças, Getulio Vargas Foundation (Brazil), vol. 68(3), September.
    6. Márcia de Carvalho & Luis Fernando Gamboa & Fábio D. Waltenberg, 2012. "Equality of Educational Ppportunity Employing PISA Data: Taking both Achievement and Access into Account," Working Papers 277, ECINEQ, Society for the Study of Economic Inequality.
    7. 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, Department of Quantitative Social Science - UCL Institute of Education, University College London.
    8. John Jerrim & Álvaro Choi, 2013. "The mathematics skills of school children: how does England compare to the high performing east Asian jurisdictions?," Working Papers 2013/12, Institut d'Economia de Barcelona (IEB).
    9. John Jerrim & Alvaro Choi, 2013. "The mathematics skills of school children: How does England compare to the high performing East Asian jurisdictions?," DoQSS Working Papers 13-03, Department of Quantitative Social Science - UCL Institute of Education, University College London.
    10. repec:fgv:epgrbe:v:68:n:3:a:5 is not listed on IDEAS
    11. Loughrey, Jason James & Donnellan, Trevor, 2017. "Inequality and Concentration in Farmland Size: A Regional Analysis for Western Europe," 2017 International Congress, August 28-September 1, 2017, Parma, Italy 261112, European Association of Agricultural Economists.
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    13. Francesco Scervini & Agnese Peruzzi & Enrica Chiappero, 2016. "Equality of opportunities for young Italian workers," Working papers 38, Società Italiana di Economia Pubblica.
    14. Álvaro Choi & John Jerrim, 2015. "The use (and misuse) of Pisa in guiding policy reform: the case of Spain," Working Papers 2015/6, Institut d'Economia de Barcelona (IEB).
    15. repec:eee:ehbiol:v:29:y:2018:i:c:p:179-188 is not listed on IDEAS
    16. Van de gaer, Dirk & Ramos, Xavier, 2015. "Measurement of Inequality of Opportunity Based on Counterfactuals," IZA Discussion Papers 9582, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    17. Lauri Peterson, 2014. "The Measurement of Non-economic Inequality in Well-Being Indices," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 119(2), pages 581-598, November.
    18. Philipp Poppitz, 2016. "Does self-perceptions and income inequality match?," IMK Working Paper 173-2016, IMK at the Hans Boeckler Foundation, Macroeconomic Policy Institute.
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    21. World Bank, 2012. "Monitoring Basic Opportunities throughout the Lifecycle with the Human Opportunity Index in Chile," World Bank Other Operational Studies 11919, The World Bank.
    22. Isabelle Joumard & Juliana Londoño Vélez, 2013. "Income Inequality and Poverty in Colombia - Part 1. The Role of the Labour Market," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 1036, OECD Publishing.
    23. repec:spr:soinre:v:137:y:2018:i:3:d:10.1007_s11205-017-1623-3 is not listed on IDEAS
    24. Juan C. Palomino & Gustavo A. Marrero & Juan G. Rodriguez, 2016. "Channels of inequality of opportunity: The role of education and occupation in Europe," Working Papers 411, ECINEQ, Society for the Study of Economic Inequality.
    25. Gamboa, Luis Fernando & Waltenberg, Fábio D., 2012. "Inequality of opportunity for educational achievement in Latin America: Evidence from PISA 2006–2009," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 31(5), pages 694-708.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Education; Inequality;

    JEL classification:

    • D39 - Microeconomics - - Distribution - - - Other
    • D63 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Equity, Justice, Inequality, and Other Normative Criteria and Measurement
    • I29 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Other
    • O54 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economywide Country Studies - - - Latin America; Caribbean

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