Decomposing Learning Inequalities in East Africa: How Much Does Sorting Matter?

World Bank Economic Review

59 Pages Posted: 3 Jun 2021

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); 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

Sam Jones

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

Date Written: June 3, 2021

Abstract

Economic inequalities reflect inequalities in educational opportunities which in turn
are due to both household and school-related factors. Although these factors plausibly
co-vary, few studies have considered the extent to which sorting between schools and
households might aggravate educational inequalities. To fill this gap we develop a novel
variance decomposition and apply it to data on educational outcomes for over 1 million
children from East Africa. Our results indicate that sorting accounts for as much as 8
percent of the test-score variance, a figure similar in magnitude to the contribution of
differences in school quality alone. Empirical simulations of steady-state educational
inequalities show that policies to mitigate sorting between households and schools
could further reduce educational inequalities over the long-run substantially, equal to
cutting the inter-generational persistence of educational attainment by more than half.

Keywords: inequality of opportunity, education achievement, decomposition, household, school, sorting, Africa

JEL Classification: D6, H0, I2, O1

Suggested Citation

Anand, Paul and Behrman, Jere R. and Dang, Hai-Anh H. and Jones, Sam, Decomposing Learning Inequalities in East Africa: How Much Does Sorting Matter? (June 3, 2021). World Bank Economic Review, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3859099

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

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 (Contact Author)

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/

IZA Institute of Labor Economics ( email )

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

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

1315 East Tenth Street
Bloomington, IN 47405
United States

Global Labor Organization (GLO) ( email )

Collogne
Germany

Vietnam National University Ha Noi ( email )

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

1 Lieu Giai Street
Hanoi
Vietnam

Sam Jones

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

Katajanokanlaituri 6B
Helsinki, FIN-00160
Finland

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