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Working paper

Inequality of educational opportunity in a cross-section of countries. Empirical analysis of 2009 PISA data

Kozina N. S., Natkhov T. V.
  We provide a measure of inequality of educational opportunity for 72 countries, estimated as a share of  the  variation in  the  2009  PISA test scores  that is  explained by pre-determined  family characteristics.  Inequality of opportunity accounts for up to  40  percent of the variation in educational achievement and  different measures (for example  in math, science,  and reading) are highly correlated. Cross-country variation in the inequality of educational opportunity is unrelated to financial indicators, such as expenditure per student or public spending on education as a share of GDP, but depends on pre-school enrollment, overall economic inequality,  and  the  availability of basic medical services. We also document  the  negative relationship between  the  inequality of educational opportunity and educational achievement:  average educational achievement is lower in countries where family background plays a major role in determining individual progress.