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The impact of the 1999 education reform in Poland


  • Jakubowski, Maciej
  • Patrinos, Harry Anthony
  • Porta, Emilio Ernesto
  • Wisniewski, Jerzy


Increasing the share of vocational secondary schooling has been a mainstay of development policy for decades, perhaps nowhere more so than in formerly socialist countries. The transition, however, led to significant restructuring of school systems, including a declining share of vocational students. Exposing more students to a general curriculum could improve academic abilities. This paper analyzes Poland’s significant improvement in international achievement tests and the restructuring of the education system that expanded general schooling to test the hypothesis that delayed vocational streaming improves outcomes. Using propensity score matching and differences-in-differences estimates, the authors show that delayed vocationalization had a positive and significant impact on student performance on the order of one standard deviation.

Suggested Citation

  • Jakubowski, Maciej & Patrinos, Harry Anthony & Porta, Emilio Ernesto & Wisniewski, Jerzy, 2010. "The impact of the 1999 education reform in Poland," Policy Research Working Paper Series 5263, The World Bank.
  • Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:5263

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    Cited by:

    1. Jacek Liwiński, 2020. "The Impact of Compulsory Schooling on Hourly Wage: Evidence From the 1999 Education Reform in Poland," Evaluation Review, , vol. 44(5-6), pages 437-470, October.
    2. Maciej Jakubowski, 2015. "Opening up opportunities: education reforms in Poland," IBS Policy Papers 01/2015, Instytut Badan Strukturalnych.
    3. Liwiński, Jacek, 2018. "The Impact of Compulsory Schooling on Earnings. Evidence from the 1999 Education Reform in Poland," GLO Discussion Paper Series 253, Global Labor Organization (GLO).
    4. Michela Braga & Daniele Checchi & Elena Meschi, 2011. "GINI DP 22: Institutional Reforms and Educational Attainment in Europe," GINI Discussion Papers 22, AIAS, Amsterdam Institute for Advanced Labour Studies.
    5. Maciej Jakubowski, 2015. "Latent variables and propensity score matching: a simulation study with application to data from the Programme for International Student Assessment in Poland," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 48(3), pages 1287-1325, May.
    6. Popp, Marie, 2010. "Viel Lärm um Pisa: Eine qualitative-vergleichende Presseanalyse zu den Reaktionen auf die PISA-Studie in Deutschland, Österreich, Spanien und Mexiko," TranState Working Papers 134, University of Bremen, Collaborative Research Center 597: Transformations of the State.
    7. Tam Bang Vu & Amber Osman & Bilal Hussain & Osama Faheem Faizan Farid Ahmed Ali, 2011. "Vocational Schools and Regional Development in China," Journal of Economics and Behavioral Studies, AMH International, vol. 3(6), pages 363-369.
    8. World Bank, 2018. "World Development Report 2018 [Rapport sur le développement dans le monde 2018]," World Bank Publications - Books, The World Bank Group, number 28340, December.
    9. Oral, Isil & Santos, Indhira & Zhang, Fan, 2012. "Climate change policies and employment in Eastern Europe and Central Asia," Policy Research Working Paper Series 6294, The World Bank.
    10. Braga, Michela & Checchi, Daniele & Meschi, Elena, 2011. "Institutional Reforms and Educational Attainment in Europe: A Long Run Perspective," IZA Discussion Papers 6190, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    11. Lehmann, Hartmut, 2012. "The Polish Growth Miracle: Outcome of Persistent Reform Efforts," IZA Policy Papers 40, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    12. Holtmann, Anne Christine, 2016. "Excellence through equality of opportunity – Increasing the social inclusiveness of education systems benefits disadvantaged students without harming advantaged students," EconStor Open Access Articles and Book Chapters, ZBW - Leibniz Information Centre for Economics, pages 61-76.

    More about this item


    Tertiary Education; Secondary Education; Education For All; Primary Education; Teaching and Learning;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • I21 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Analysis of Education
    • I28 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Government Policy

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