Inequality in Education Opportunity: A Quantile Regression Approach

Mercy Palamuleni, Gustavus Adolphus College

This paper provides lower-bound estimates of inequality of opportunity in education (IEO) using micro-data from the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA). The measure is the variation in student mathematics test scores explained by predetermined circumstances (including parental education, gender, and additional community variables). IEO accounts for 10 percent of the variation in test scores for students at the top and bottom of the test score distribution. Three main conclusions are established from using the IEO measure: (1) IEO decreases with an increase in preprimary enrollment rates. Suggesting that improvements in early childhood education might mitigate the effects of IEO factors for some students. (2) IEO increases as overall inequality increases. This indicates the possibility of a more general persistence to inequality factors. Suggesting that equity-based education policies can be a key tool for reducing income inequality. (3) There is evidence of an equity-efficiency tradeoff in education.

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Presented in Poster Session 8: Economy, Labor Force, Education, and Inequality/Gender, Race and Ethnicity