Home > Publications . Search All . Browse All . Country . Browse PSC Pubs . PSC Report Series

PSC In The News

RSS Feed icon

Work by Bailey and Dynarski cited in NYT piece on income inequality

Pfeffer says housing bubble masked decade-long growth in household net worth inequality

House, Burgard, Schoeni et al find that unemployment and recession have contrasting effects on mortality risk

Highlights

Jeff Morenoff makes Reuters' Highly Cited Researchers list for 2014

Susan Murphy named Distinguished University Professor

Sarah Burgard and former PSC trainee Jennifer Ailshire win ASA award for paper

James Jackson to be appointed to NSF's National Science Board

Next Brown Bag


PSC Brown Bags will return in the fall

David Lam photo

Schooling as a lottery: Racial differences in school advancement in urban South Africa

Publication Abstract

Lam, David, Cally Ardington, and Murray Leibbrandt. 2011. "Schooling as a lottery: Racial differences in school advancement in urban South Africa." Journal of Development Economics, 95(2): 121-136.

This paper analyzes the large racial differences in progress through secondary school in South Africa. Using recently collected longitudinal data we find that grade advancement is strongly associated with scores on a baseline literacy and numeracy test. In grades 8–11 the effect of these scores on grade progression is much stronger for white and coloured students than for African students, while there is no racial difference in the impact of the scores on passing the nationally standardized grade 12 matriculation exam. We develop a stochastic model of grade repetition that generates predictions consistent with these results. The model predicts that a larger stochastic component in the link between learning and measured performance will generate higher enrollment, higher failure rates, and a weaker link between ability and grade progression. The results suggest that grade progression in African schools is poorly linked to actual ability and learning. The results point to the importance of considering the stochastic component of grade repetition in analyzing school systems with high failure rates.

DOI:10.1016/j.jdeveco.2010.05.005 (Full Text)

PMCID: PMC3076682. (Pub Med Central)

More information

Country of focus: South Africa.

Browse | Search : All Pubs | Next