Normative and quantitative analysis of educational inequalities, with reference to Brazil
The existence of substantial socio-economic inequalities is one of the most fundamental features of the Brazilian society. Although educational inequality is not the only source of such socio-economic inequalities, it plays a major role, particularly regarding income inequality, both for current and for future generations. Acquiring a better understanding of the patterns of educational inequalities in Brazil is thus a relevant research topic, with implications for policy-making.
The first part of the thesis contains a conceptual discussion in which we try to determine an appropriate definition of educational justice. We advocate the use of “essential educational achievements” as the relevant “currency of educational justice” and we defend a version of “equality of educational opportunity” in which the responsibility that is assigned to individuals increases as they grow up.
While a remarkable quantitative improvement has taken place recently in Brazil, the situation concerning the quality of education is less clear. To explore qualitative aspects, in the second part, we turn to pupils' performance in standardized tests. Applying usual distributional assessment tools to such data, we map the intensity of educational inequalities in the country. Using recently-developed indices of inequality of opportunity, we assess the fairness of the Brazilian schooling system. Thus we identify both the areas where educational inequality is more intense, and those where educational unfairness is more severe.
In the third part, we use econometric methods to investigate how the reallocation of educational resources could contribute to moving Brazilian educational system towards educational fairness. First, we evaluate the effect of teachers' wages on pupils' achievement, and our analysis suggests there is scope for Brazilian public schools to improve their human resources policies, with potential benefits accruing to low-performing pupils. Then, we analyze the reallocations of educational resources required to equalize educational opportunities, and we find that the redistribution of non-monetary inputs could considerably reduce the magnitude of the financial redistribution needed.
School:Université catholique de Louvain
Source Type:Master's Thesis
Keywords:inequality measurement mesures d inégalités economics of education schooling systems systèmes enseignement quantile regressions economie de l éducation egalité des chances régressions quantiles analyse normative equality opportunity analysis brazil brésil applied econometrics econométrie appliquée
Date of Publication:07/02/2007