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New Estimates on Educational Attainment Using a Continuous Approach (1970–2010)

Vanesa Jordá and José M. Alonso

World Development, 2017, vol. 90, issue C, 281-293

Abstract: In this paper we introduce a new set of estimates on educational attainment and inequality measures of education for 142 countries over the period 1970–2010. Most of the previous attempts to measure educational attainment have treated education as a categorical variable, whose mean is computed as a weighted average of the official duration of each cycle and attainment rates, thus omitting differences in educational achievement within levels of education. This aggregation into different groups may result in a loss of information, introducing, therefore, a potential source of measurement error. We explore here a more nuanced alternative to estimate educational attainment, which considers the continuous nature of education. This “continuous approach” allows us to impose more plausible assumptions about the distribution of years of schooling within each level of education, and to take into account the right censoring of the data in the estimation, thus leading to more accurate estimates of educational attainment and education inequality. These improved estimates may help to better understand the role of education on different aspects of development.

Keywords: educational attainment; inequality; mean years of schooling; measurement error (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2017
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Handle: RePEc:eee:wdevel:v:90:y:2017:i:c:p:281-293