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School Choice and Equity: Current Policies in OECD Countries and a Literature Review


  • Pauline Musset



This report discusses the most relevant issues concerning school choice schemes, and how they intertwine with equity considerations, through a literature review and analysis of the effects different types of school choice programmes have on equity. In the last 25 years, more than two-thirds of OECD countries have increased school choice opportunities for parents. The empirical evidence reviewed here reveals that providing full parental school choice results in further student segregation between schools, by ability, socio-economic and ethnic background, and in greater inequities across education systems. The report identifies certain characteristics of programmes that can prevent schools from hand-picking their students - crowding out disadvantaged and low performing students. As school choice is here to stay, countries should explore choice designs that balance parents’ freedom to choose with equity considerations: this report develops two particular schemes: controlled choice programmes – also called flexible enrolment schemes – and weighted funding formula. Ce rapport aborde les aspects les plus pertinents concernant les systèmes de choix de l'école, et leurs relations avec les questions d’équité, à travers une revue de la littérature et un examen des effets de différents types de mécanismes de choix. Au cours des 25 dernières années, plus des deux tiers des pays de l'OCDE ont augmenté les possibilités de choix de l'école pour les parents. L’évidence empirique examinée ici révèle que de permettre aux parents de choisir entre toutes les écoles contribuent à séparer les élèves par aptitudes, milieux socio-économiques, et origines ethniques, et donc accroit les iniquités entre les écoles. Le rapport identifie certaines caractéristiques des programmes qui peuvent empêcher les écoles « d’écrémer » les élèves, et donc d’exclure ceux qui sont les plus défavorisés, ou les moins bons. Les pays peuvent développer des mécanismes qui permettre de concilier la liberté pour les parents de choisir l’école de leurs enfants et l’équité. Ce rapport analyse deux dispositifs particuliers: les programmes de choix contrôlé - également appelés les régimes d'inscription flexibles - et le financement pondéré des écoles.

Suggested Citation

  • Pauline Musset, 2012. "School Choice and Equity: Current Policies in OECD Countries and a Literature Review," OECD Education Working Papers 66, OECD Publishing.
  • Handle: RePEc:oec:eduaab:66-en

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    Cited by:

    1. Calsamiglia, Caterina & Güell, Maia, 2014. "The Illusion of School Choice: Empirical Evidence from Barcelona," IZA Discussion Papers 8202, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    2. António Neto, 2015. "The Portuguese high school match," Economics Bulletin, AccessEcon, vol. 35(3), pages 1765-1771.
    3. repec:eee:jhecon:v:57:y:2018:i:c:p:290-314 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Kaire Põder & Triin Lauri, 2014. "Will Choice Hurt? Compared to What? School Choice Experiment in Estonia," TUT Economic Research Series 11, Department of Finance and Economics, Tallinn University of Technology.
    5. Elaine Kelly & George Stoye, 2015. "New joints: private providers and rising demand in the English National Health Service," IFS Working Papers W15/22, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
    6. Caterina Calsamiglia & Francisco Martinez-Mora & Antonio Miralles, 2017. "Sorting in public school districts under the Boston Mechanism," Working Papers 949, Barcelona Graduate School of Economics.
    7. Berthold, Norbert & Gründler, Klaus, 2013. "Dezentrale Wirtschaftspolitik in Europa: Basis einer stabilen Währungsunion," Discussion Paper Series 121, Julius Maximilian University of Würzburg, Chair of Economic Order and Social Policy.
    8. repec:gam:jsusta:v:9:y:2017:i:6:p:1075-:d:102126 is not listed on IDEAS
    9. Berthold Norbert & Gründler Klaus, 2014. "Empirie sozialer Mobilität und wirtschaftspolitische Implikationen / The Determinants of Social Mobility and their Implications for Economic Policy," ORDO. Jahrbuch für die Ordnung von Wirtschaft und Gesellschaft, De Gruyter, vol. 65(1), pages 279-302, January.
    10. Caterina Calsamiglia & Francisco Martínez-Mora & Antonio Miralles, 2015. "School Choice Mechanisms, Peer Effects and Sorting," Discussion Papers in Economics 15/01, Division of Economics, School of Business, University of Leicester.

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