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Education policy and equality of opportunity

  • Schütz, Gabriela
  • Ursprung, Heinrich W.
  • Wößmann, Ludger

We provide a measure of equality of educational opportunity in 54 countries, estimated as the effect of family background on student performance in two international TIMSS tests. Using cross-country variation in education policies and its interaction with family background at the student level, we then estimate how equality is related to organizational features of the education system. We find that equality of opportunity is positively related to late tracking into different school types and to longer pre-school education. Pre-school enrollment has an inverted U-shaped relationship with equality. Equality is negatively related to private school financing, but positively to private provision.

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Paper provided by University of Munich, Department of Economics in its series Munich Reprints in Economics with number 19901.

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Date of creation: 2008
Date of revision:
Publication status: Published in Kyklos 2 61(2008): pp. 279-308
Handle: RePEc:lmu:muenar:19901
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  1. Eric A. Hanushek & Ludger Wößmann, 2005. "Does Education Tracking Affect Performance and Inequality? Differences-In-Differences Evidence Across Countries," Discussion Papers 04-026, Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research.
  2. Eliana Garces & Duncan Thomas & Janet Currie, 2000. "Longer Term Effects of Head Start," Working Papers 00-20, RAND Corporation Publications Department.
  3. Moulton, Brent R., 1986. "Random group effects and the precision of regression estimates," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 32(3), pages 385-397, August.
  4. Janet Currie, 2001. "Early Childhood Education Programs," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 15(2), pages 213-238, Spring.
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  7. Ludger Woessmann, 2004. "How Equal Are Educational Opportunities? Family Background and Student Achievement in Europe and the United States," CESifo Working Paper Series 1162, CESifo Group Munich.
  8. L Feinstein & Donald Robertson & James Symons, 1998. "Pre-School Education and Attainment in the NCDS and BCS," CEP Discussion Papers dp0382, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  9. David N. Figlio & Marianne E. Page, 2000. "School Choice and the Distributional Effects of Ability Tracking: Does Separation Increase Equality?," NBER Working Papers 8055, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Fuchs, Thomas & Woessmann, Ludger, 2004. "What Accounts for International Differences in Student Performance? A Re-Examination Using PISA Data," IZA Discussion Papers 1287, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  11. Wooldridge, Jeffrey M., 2001. "Asymptotic Properties Of Weighted M-Estimators For Standard Stratified Samples," Econometric Theory, Cambridge University Press, vol. 17(02), pages 451-470, April.
  12. Ganzeboom, H.B.G. & de Graaf, P.M. & Treiman, D.J. & de Leeuw, J., 1992. "A standard international socio-economic index of occupational status," WORC Paper 85970031-d601-46e3-befb-1, Tilburg University, Work and Organization Research Centre.
  13. Dennis Epple & Elizabeth Newlon & Richard Romano, 2000. "Ability Tracking, School Competition, and the Distribution of Educational Benefits," NBER Working Papers 7854, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Costas Meghir & MÃ¥rten Palme, 2004. "Educational reform, ability and family background," IFS Working Papers W04/10, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  15. Anderson, Patricia M, 1993. "Linear Adjustment Costs and Seasonal Labor Demand: Evidence from Retail Trade Firms," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 108(4), pages 1015-42, November.
  16. Barry R. Chiswick & Noyna DebBurman, 2004. "Pre-School Enrollment: An Analysis by Immigrant Generation," CReAM Discussion Paper Series 0404, Centre for Research and Analysis of Migration (CReAM), Department of Economics, University College London.
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