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Tracking can be more equitable than mixing: peer effects and college attendance

  • Marisa Hidalgo Hidalgo


    (Department of Economics, Universidad Pablo de Olavide)

Parents and policy makers often wonder whether, and how, the choice between a tracked or a mixed educational system affects the efficiency and equity of national educational outcomes. This paper analyzes this question taking into account their impact on educational results at later stages and two main results are found. First, it shows that tracking can be the efficient system in societies where the opportunity cost of college attendance is high or the pre-school achievement distribution is very dispersed. Second, this paper shows that although conventional wisdom suggests that equality of opportunities is best guaranteed under mixing, this is not necessarily the case. In fact, tracking is the most equitable system for students with intermediate levels of human capital required to attend college..

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Paper provided by Universidad Pablo de Olavide, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 09.04.

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Length: 33 pages
Date of creation: Apr 2009
Date of revision: Jul 2012
Handle: RePEc:pab:wpaper:09.04
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  1. Durlauf, Steven N., 2004. "Neighborhood effects," Handbook of Regional and Urban Economics, in: J. V. Henderson & J. F. Thisse (ed.), Handbook of Regional and Urban Economics, edition 1, volume 4, chapter 50, pages 2173-2242 Elsevier.
  2. Gabriela Schütz & Heinrich W. Ursprung & Ludger Wö�mann, 2008. "Education Policy and Equality of Opportunity," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 61(2), pages 279-308, 05.
  3. Kim, Taejong & Lee, Ju-Ho & Lee, Young, 2008. "Mixing versus sorting in schooling: Evidence from the equalization policy in South Korea," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 27(6), pages 697-711, December.
  4. Epple, Dennis & Newlon, Elizabeth & Romano, Richard, 2002. "Ability tracking, school competition, and the distribution of educational benefits," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 83(1), pages 1-48, January.
  5. Eric A. Hanushek & Ludger Wößmann, 2005. "Does Educational Tracking Affect Performance and Inequality? Differences-in-Differences Evidence across Countries," Ifo Working Paper Series Ifo Working Paper No. 1, Ifo Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich.
  6. Roemer, J-E & Wets, R-J-B, 1994. "Neighborhood Effects on Belief Formation and the Distribution of Education and Income," Papers 94-02, California Davis - Institute of Governmental Affairs.
  7. Daniele Checchi & Giorgio Brunello, 2006. "Does School Tracking Affect Equality of Opportunity? New International Evidence," UNIMI - Research Papers in Economics, Business, and Statistics unimi-1044, Universitá degli Studi di Milano.
  8. M. Dolores Collado & Iñigo Iturbe Ormaetxe, 2008. "Public Transfers to the Poor: Is Europe really more Generous than the United States?," Working Papers. Serie AD 2008-05, Instituto Valenciano de Investigaciones Económicas, S.A. (Ivie).
  9. Marisa Hidalgo, 2005. "Peer Group Effects And Optimal Education System," Working Papers. Serie AD 2005-12, Instituto Valenciano de Investigaciones Económicas, S.A. (Ivie).
  10. Giorgio Brunello & Massimo Giannini, 2001. "Stratified or Comprehensive? The Economic Efficiency of School Design," CESifo Working Paper Series 453, CESifo Group Munich.
  11. Weili Ding & Steven Lehrer, 2005. "Do Peers Affect Student Achievement in China's Secondary Schools?," Working Papers 1047, Queen's University, Department of Economics.
  12. Marisa Hidalgo-Hidalgo, 2007. "On the optimal allocation of students when peer effect works: Tracking vs Mixing," Working Papers 07.14, Universidad Pablo de Olavide, Department of Economics.
  13. Streufert, Peter, 2000. " The Effect of Underclass Social Isolation on Schooling Choice," Journal of Public Economic Theory, Association for Public Economic Theory, vol. 2(4), pages 461-82.
  14. Epple, Dennis & Romano, Richard & Sieg, Holger, 2000. "Peer Effects, Financial Aid, and Selection of Students into Colleges and Universities: An Empirical Analysis," Working Papers 00-02, Duke University, Department of Economics.
  15. Ammermüller, Andreas & Pischke, Jörn-Steffen, 2006. "Peer Effects in European Primary Schools: Evidence from PIRLS," IZA Discussion Papers 2077, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  16. Arnott, Richard & Rowse, John, 1987. "Peer group effects and educational attainment," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(3), pages 287-305, April.
  17. Epple, Dennis & Romano, Richard E, 1998. "Competition between Private and Public Schools, Vouchers, and Peer-Group Effects," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(1), pages 33-62, March.
  18. Hahn, Sunku & Sung, Taeyoon & Baek, Jisun, 2008. "Mixing versus sorting: Entering top universities," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 100(1), pages 43-46, July.
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