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The Effects of National Educational Structures on Educational Participation and Inequality

Presented by Shawn Wick and Evan Schofer

Societies differ significantly in they way they organize education. In some countries it is routine for young children to be separated at early ages into "college-bound" versus "vocational" schools. In others, students face daunting exams at particular stages which prevent educational advancement. In short, the very structure of education varies across societies. We explore the effects of these structural differences on two key outcomes: educational participation and overall societal economic inequality. We argue that sharp structural divisions in education generate and legitimate higher levels of social inequality. We draw on newly collected cross-national data on educational structures of a large sample of nations. We use pooled panel regressions over the period from 1980 to 2000 to explore the issue.