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Explaining the SES School Completion Gap

Author

Listed:
  • Cain Polidano

    () (Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, The University of Melbourne)

  • Barbara Hanel

    () (Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, The University of Melbourne)

  • Hielke Buddelmeyer

    (Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, The University of Melbourne)

Abstract

Relatively low rates of school completion among students from low socio-economic (SES) backgrounds is a key transmission mechanism for the persistence of intergenerational inequality. Using a rich dataset that links data from the Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) with data from the Longitudinal Survey of Australian Youth (LSAY), we use a decomposition framework to explain the gap in school completion between low and medium SES and between low and high SES. The two most important factors found to explain the gap are lower educational aspirations of low SES students and their parents (over 30% of the gaps) and lower numeracy and reading test scores at age 15 (over 20% of the gaps). Differences in the characteristics of schools (including resources, governance, teachers and peers) attended by low and higher SES students is estimated to be relatively unimportant, explaining only around 6% of the gaps.

Suggested Citation

  • Cain Polidano & Barbara Hanel & Hielke Buddelmeyer, 2012. "Explaining the SES School Completion Gap," Melbourne Institute Working Paper Series wp2012n16, Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, The University of Melbourne.
  • Handle: RePEc:iae:iaewps:wp2012n16
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    File URL: http://melbourneinstitute.unimelb.edu.au/downloads/working_paper_series/wp2012n16.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Polidano, Cain & Tabasso, Domenico, 2016. "Fully integrating upper-secondary vocational and academic courses: A flexible new way?," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 55(C), pages 117-131.
    2. Tharmmapornphilas, Rubkwan, 2013. "Impact of household factors on youth's school decisions in Thailand," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 37(C), pages 258-272.
    3. Philip Oreopoulos & Robert S. Brown & Adam M. Lavecchia, 2017. "Pathways to Education: An Integrated Approach to Helping At-Risk High School Students," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 125(4), pages 947-984.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    School completion; socio-economic status; decomposition and PISA;

    JEL classification:

    • I20 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - General
    • J01 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - General - - - Labor Economics: General

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