Institutional Features of Schooling Systems and Educational Inequality: Cross-Country Evidence From PIRLS and PISA


  • I would like to thank John Bishop, Lex Borghans, Bernd Fitzenberger, Nicole Gürtzgen, Hans Heijke, Marisa Hidalgo-Hidalgo, Kevin Lang, Charlotte Lauer, François Laisney, Ludger Woessmann, the editor and three anonymous referees for helpful comments. The data are public use files. The views expressed are those of the author. The usual disclaimer applies.

Andreas Ammermueller, Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs (BMAS), 11017 Berlin, Germany. Tel.: +49 30 18527 6736; fax: +49 30 18527 8240; e-mail:


Educational opportunities determine the intergenerational mobility of human capital and affect the distribution of earnings on the labour market. This paper aims at explaining cross-country differences in educational opportunities by features of schooling systems. The theoretical model predicts that a greater differentiation of the schooling system as indicated by streaming and a large share of private schools decreases educational opportunities while more instruction time increases educational opportunities. The empirical results that are based on a difference-in-differences estimation approach to control for country-specific effects support these hypotheses.