Do selective schooling systems increase inequality?

Simon Burgess, Matthew Dickson, Lindsey Macmillan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Citations (SciVal)


We investigate the impact on earnings inequality of a selective education system in which school assignment is based on initial test scores. We use a large, representative household panel survey to compare adult earnings inequality of those growing up under a selective education system with those educated under a comprehensive system. Controlling for a range of background characteristics and the current location, the wage distribution for individuals who grew up in selective schooling areas is quantitatively substantially and significantly more unequal, and the difference is statistically significant. The total effect sizes are large: 214% of the raw 90-10 earnings gap and 198% of the conditional 90-10 earnings gap can be explained by differences across schooling systems.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbergpz028
Pages (from-to)1-24
Number of pages24
JournalOxford Economic Papers
Issue number1
Early online date25 Jan 2019
Publication statusPublished - 25 Feb 2019


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