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How Equal Are Educational Opportunities? Family Background and Student Achievement in Europe and the United States

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  • Woessmann, Ludger

    (University of Munich)

Abstract

This paper estimates the effects of family-background characteristics on student performance in the US and 17 Western European school systems. Family background has strong effects both in Europe and the United States, remarkably similar in size. France and Flemish Belgium achieve the most equitable performance for students from different family backgrounds, and Britain and Germany the least. Equality of opportunities is unrelated to countries’ mean performance. Quantile regressions show little variation in family-background effects across the ability distribution in most countries.

Suggested Citation

  • Woessmann, Ludger, 2004. "How Equal Are Educational Opportunities? Family Background and Student Achievement in Europe and the United States," IZA Discussion Papers 1284, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp1284
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    intergenerational mobility; equity-efficiency tradeoff; TIMSS; family background; student performance; equality of opportunity;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • I21 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Analysis of Education
    • J62 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Job, Occupational and Intergenerational Mobility; Promotion
    • H52 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - Government Expenditures and Education

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