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New evidence on inequalities in education in low and middle-income countries

Socioeconomic status and test scores are important predictors of educational attainment gaps in rich countries. Associate Professor Abhijeet Singh from the Economics Department of the Stockholm School of Economics and his co-authors present new evidence on inequalities in education in low and middle-income countries (LMIC).

In their newly published paper, Abhijeet Singh (Stockholm School of Economics), Andres YI Chang (World Bank), and Jishnu Das (Georgetown University) examined the relationships between socioeconomic status, test scores, and college attendance in Ethiopia, India, Pakistan, Peru and Vietnam using data from the first longitudinal studies in LMIC. They found that the children with higher scores at the age of 12 complete more years of schooling and have a higher college attendance rate at 22. However, high-scoring children from poorer backgrounds complete a similar education as low-scoring children from wealthy backgrounds. Therefore, many talented children are not getting enough schooling to fulfil their potential, and, contrary to what is generally believed, bringing more children from poorer backgrounds into higher education could raise (not lower) the academic preparation of the marginal entrant.

Our results are consistent with the idea that higher test scores will enable children to remain in school longer, but may be insufficient to equalize college access.
Associate Professor Abhijeet Singh and co-authors
Dept. of Economics Inequality Education Economics Journal News Publication