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How inequality of opportunity and mean student performance are related? - A quantile regression approach using PISA data

  • Zoltan Hermann

    ()

    (Institute of Economics - Hungarian Academy of Sciences)

  • Daniel Horn

    ()

    (Institute of Economics - Hungarian Academy of Sciences)

Previous research provided ambiguous results on the association between average student performance and inequality of opportunity, as measured by the effect of family background on student achievement. In this paper we explore this association distinguishing between inequality of opportunity at the bottom and the top of the score distribution using a two step method. In the first step, we use quantile regression models to estimate the family background effect at different points of the distribution within each country in PISA 2000-2009. In the second step, we analyse the association between these estimates and the mean achievement of countries. Both cross-section and country fixed-effect estimates indicate that while there is no clear pattern for the bottom of the distribution, lower inequality of opportunity at the top of the distribution goes strongly together with higher mean achievement. In other words, countries where family background has a weaker impact on achievement among the most able students tend to perform better. In short, there is indeed a positive association between equality of opportunity and mean student performance, at least for some groups of students.

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Paper provided by Institute of Economics, Centre for Economic and Regional Studies, Hungarian Academy of Sciences in its series IEHAS Discussion Papers with number 1124.

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Length: 34 pages
Date of creation: May 2011
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:has:discpr:1124
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  1. Flavio Cunha & James J. Heckman & Lance Lochner & Dimitriy V. Masterov, 2005. "Interpreting the Evidence on Life Cycle Skill Formation," NBER Working Papers 11331, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  6. Schütz, Gabriela & Ursprung, Heinrich W. & Wößmann, Ludger, 2008. "Education policy and equality of opportunity," Munich Reprints in Economics 19901, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
  7. Richard B. Freeman & Stephen Machin & Martina Viarengo, 2010. "Variation in Educational Outcomes and Policies across Countries and of Schools within Countries," NBER Working Papers 16293, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Daniel Aaronson & Lisa Barrow & William Sander, 2007. "Teachers and Student Achievement in the Chicago Public High Schools," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 25, pages 95-135.
  9. Andreas Ammermüller, 2004. "PISA : what makes the difference?," Working Papers of the Research Group Heterogenous Labor 04-07, Research Group Heterogeneous Labor, University of Konstanz/ZEW Mannheim.
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  13. Fertig, Michael & Schmidt, Christoph M., 2002. "The Role of Background Factors for Reading Literacy: Straight National Scores in the PISA 2000 Study," IZA Discussion Papers 545, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
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