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2002 Documento de Trabajo #136

Equity and Educational Performance

In this paper, we review the main issues under discussion in the field of economics of education, with a special focus on Latin America. We seek to organize the debate about educational policies by showing how these policies respond to different models based on different assumptions and hypotheses about how the educational system functions. Methodological and informational problems make it difficult to test the validity of different policies. This would explain the enormous number of studies in the field that conclude with conflicting policy prescriptions.We also use data from Chile to analyze the importance of the school in educational outcome and to explore the heterogeneous impacts of student and school characteristics on educational achievement. The results obtained allow us to conclude that the school plays a very important role in explaining educational achievement. We also find that low-income students stand to benefit the most from attending a privateschool. However, this conclusion is valid for a marginal analysis and does not necessarily apply to a massive reallocation of students among schools.

Alejandra Mizala
Pilar Romaguera