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psc brown bag iconThe Rise and Fall of Worldwide Education Inequality from 1870-2010: Measurement and Trends

Shawn Dorius (University of Michigan)

01/23/2012, at noon in room 6050 ISR-Thompson.

This research documents long-run trends in between-country education inequality and proposes a method for doing so that accounts for the ways in which most education variables differ from continuous variables such as income. Historical, national-level estimates of primary schooling enrollment rates and years of completed primary, secondary, and total schooling are used to identify several problems that arise when formal measures of inequality are employed to estimate inter-country education inequality. Using an alternate measurement strategy, this research shows that the inter-country trend in the dispersion of education has followed an approximately normal curve over the last 140 years, but with considerable variation across measures of education. These results are in contradiction to previous education inequality studies, which have reported either monotonically rising or falling inter-country inequality.


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