Does Sorting Matter for Learning Inequality? Evidence From East Africa

48 Pages Posted: 3 Feb 2020

See all articles by Paul Anand

Paul Anand

The Open University - Department of Economics; London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE) - Centre for Philosophy of Natural and Social Science (CPNSS); IZA; University of Oxford

Jere Behrman

University of Pennsylvania - Department of Economics

Hai-Anh Dang

World Bank - Development Data Group (DECDG)

Sam Jones

United Nations - World Institute for Development Economics Research (UNU/WIDER)

Date Written: December 31, 2019

Abstract

Inequalities in children’s learning are widely recognized to arise from variations in both household and school-related factors. While few studies have considered the role of sorting between schools and households, even fewer have quantified how much sorting contributes to educational inequalities in low- and middle-income countries. We fill this gap using data on over 1 million children from three East African countries. Applying a novel variance decomposition procedure, our results indicate that sorting of pupils across schools accounts for at least 8 percent of the total test-score variance, eqyuivalent to half a year of schooling or more. This contribution tends to be largest for children from families at the ends of the socio-economic spectrum. Empirical simulations of steady-state educational inequalities reveal that policies to mitigate the consequences of sorting could substantially reduce inequalities in education.

Keywords: inequality of educational opportunity; variance decomposition; sorting; East Africa

JEL Classification: F63, I24, I25

Suggested Citation

Anand, Paul and Behrman, Jere R. and Dang, Hai-Anh H. and Jones, Sam, Does Sorting Matter for Learning Inequality? Evidence From East Africa (December 31, 2019). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3529499 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3529499

Paul Anand

The Open University - Department of Economics ( email )

Walton Hall
Milton Keynes, MK7 6AA
United Kingdom

London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE) - Centre for Philosophy of Natural and Social Science (CPNSS) ( email )

United Kingdom

IZA ( email )

University of Oxford ( email )

Mansfield Road
Oxford, Oxfordshire OX1 4AU
United Kingdom

Jere R. Behrman (Contact Author)

University of Pennsylvania - Department of Economics ( email )

Ronald O. Perelman Center for Political Science
133 South 36th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104-6297
United States
215-898-7704 (Phone)
215-573-2057 (Fax)

Hai-Anh H. Dang

World Bank - Development Data Group (DECDG) ( email )

1818 H. Street, N.W.
MC2-846
Washington, DC 20433
United States

HOME PAGE: http://sites.google.com/site/haianhhdang/

Sam Jones

United Nations - World Institute for Development Economics Research (UNU/WIDER) ( email )

Katajanokanlaituri 6B
Helsinki, FIN-00160
Finland

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