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Education Policy and Equality of Opportunity

Authors

  • Gabriela Schütz,

    1. Ifo Institute for Economic Research, Poschingerstr. 5, 81679 Munich, Germany,
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  • Heinrich W. Ursprung,

    1. Department of Economics, University of Konstanz and CESifo, Box D-138, 78457 Konstanz, Germany
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  • Ludger Wößmann

    1. University of Munich, Ifo Institute for Economic Research, CESifo and IZA, Poschingerstr. 5, 81679 Munich, Germany
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    • *Schütz: Ifo Institute for Economic Research, Poschingerstr. 5, 81679 Munich, Germany, schuetz@ifo.de; Ursprung: Department of Economics, University of Konstanz and CESifo, Box D-138, 78457 Konstanz, Germany, Heinrich.Ursprung@uni-konstanz.de; Wößmann: University of Munich, Ifo Institute for Economic Research, CESifo and IZA, Poschingerstr. 5, 81679 Munich, Germany, woessmann@ifo.de. For helpful comments and discussion, we would like to thank Steve Machin, Winfried Pohlmeier, Joachim Winter and the editors, as well as participants at the joint SOLE/EALE World Conference on Labor Economics in San Francisco, the conferences of the International Economic Association in Marrakech and the German Economic Association in Bonn, and at seminars at the universities of Louvain-La-Neuve, Dortmund, Zurich and St. Gallen.


SUMMARY

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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