What Explains Vietnam's Exceptional Performance in Education Relative to Other Countries? Analysis of the 2012 and 2015 PISA Data

80 Pages Posted: 8 May 2021

See all articles by Hai-Anh Dang

Hai-Anh Dang

World Bank - Development Data Group (DECDG); IZA Institute of Labor Economics; Indiana University Bloomington - School of Public & Environmental Affairs (SPEA); Global Labor Organization (GLO); Vietnam National University Ha Noi; Vietnam Academy of Social Sciences (VASS) - Centre for Analysis and Forecasting

Paul Glewwe

University of Minnesota - College of Agricultural, Food and Environmental Sciences - Department of Applied Economics

Khoa Vu

University of Minnesota - St. Paul - Department of Applied Economics

Jongwook Lee

University of Minnesota - St. Paul

Abstract

Despite being the poorest or second poorest participant, Vietnam performed much better than all other developing countries, and even ahead of wealthier countries such as the U.S. and the U.K., on the 2012 and 2015 PISA assessments. We provide a rigorous investigation of Vietnam's strong performance. After making various parametric and non-parametric corrections for potentially non-representative PISA samples, including bias due to Vietnam's large out-of-school population, Vietnam still remains a large positive outlier conditional on its income. Possible higher motivation of, and coaching given to, Vietnamese students only partly explains Vietnam's performance, and this is also the case for various observed household- and school-level variables. Finally, Blinder-Oaxaca decompositions indicate that the gap in average test scores between Vietnam and the other participating countries is due not to differences in students' and schools' observed characteristics, but instead to Vietnam's greater "productivity" of those characteristics.

JEL Classification: H0, I2, O1, P3

Suggested Citation

Dang, Hai-Anh H. and Glewwe, Paul and Vu, Khoa and Lee, Jongwook, What Explains Vietnam's Exceptional Performance in Education Relative to Other Countries? Analysis of the 2012 and 2015 PISA Data. IZA Discussion Paper No. 14315, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3841896

Hai-Anh H. Dang (Contact Author)

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

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

IZA Institute of Labor Economics ( email )

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Indiana University Bloomington - School of Public & Environmental Affairs (SPEA) ( email )

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Global Labor Organization (GLO) ( email )

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Vietnam National University Ha Noi ( email )

Vietnam Academy of Social Sciences (VASS) - Centre for Analysis and Forecasting ( email )

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Hanoi
Vietnam

Paul Glewwe

University of Minnesota - College of Agricultural, Food and Environmental Sciences - Department of Applied Economics ( email )

1994 Buford Avenue
Room 231
St. Paul, MN 55108-1995
United States

Khoa Vu

University of Minnesota - St. Paul - Department of Applied Economics ( email )

1994 Bufford Avenue
Saint Paul, MN 55108
United States

Jongwook Lee

University of Minnesota - St. Paul ( email )

1364 Eckles Avenue
St Paul, MI
United States

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