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EDUCATIONAL INEQUALITY AND ITS DETERMINANTS: EVIDENCE FOR WOMEN IN NINE LATIN AMERICAN COUNTRIES, 1950s-1990s

  • Yue Teng (a1)

Abstract

This paper examines educational inequality in nine Latin American countries at the sub-country level from the 1950s to the 1990s. Educational inequality is measured by the difference in schooling years between the taller and the shorter half of the female population. Schooling years significantly increased across birth cohorts, especially before the 1980s, regardless of socio-economic stratum, region or country. However, educational inequality persisted. This finding reflects the achievement of the import substitution industrialisation era in educational development and its failure in mitigating the unequal distribution of education rooted in Latin America's social structure. Trade liberalisation and educational expansion are found to reduce educational inequality in capital and urban regions, whereas democracy and tax reform increased it. By contrast, educational inequality in rural regions was hardly influenced by policy changes. This finding urges future explorations into whether the persistence of educational inequality in rural regions is due to endemic social structure.

Este artículo examina la desigualdad educativa al interno de nueve países latinoamericanos entre las décadas de 1950 y 1990. La desigualdad educativa es operacionalizada como la diferencia entre años de escolarización de la mitad de mayor y menor estatura de la población femenina. La investigación muestra como la duración de la escolarización aumenta de forma significativa a lo largo de las diferentes cohortes, particularmente antes de los años 80, controlando por origen socio-económico, región y país. No obstante, pese a lo anterior, la desigualdad educativa se mantiene. Esta paradoja muestra como, por una parte, la era de industrialización por substitución de importaciones tuvo efectos positivos en cuanto al desarrollo educativo, pero al mismo tiempo fracasó en mitigar la desigualdad educativa característica de las estructuras sociales en América Latina. La investigación muestra como la desigualdad educativa disminuyó en las regiones capitalinas y urbanas, influenciada por políticas de liberación comercial y de expansión educativa, mientras que medidas democráticas y de reforma fiscal incrementan la acentuaron. En contraste, en regiones rurales, la desigualdad educativa no parece verse afectada por cambios en las políticas públicas. Estos hallazgos urgen a explorar si la persistencia de la desigualdad en regiones rurales es causa de factores endémicos a la estructura social de regiones rurales.

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School of Social Sciences, University of Trento, Italy. yue.teng@unitn.it

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References

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