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Tracking in the Tracks in the Italian Schooling: Inequality Patterns in an Urban Context

Luigi Benfratello (), Giuseppe Sorrenti () and Gilberto Turati ()

No 30, Working papers from Department of Economics and Statistics (Dipartimento di Scienze Economico-Sociali e Matematico-Statistiche), University of Torino

Abstract: We study whether, alongside with an explicit tracking system separating students in general versus vocational curricula typically observed in European countries, the Italian highly centralized public schooling is also characterised by an implicit tracking system — typical of the US — which separates students by ability and income within the same track. We pursue this aim by considering the municipality of Turin, a post-industrialized urban context in Northern Italy. We proxy students’ ability with the score obtained at the standardised admission test at the School of Economics and Business of the local university, and we first check whether students are stratified by ability not only between tracks but also across schools within the same track. A stark heterogeneity across tracks and schools emerges, thereby strongly suggesting that the inequality patterns common in the Italian schooling system are affected by both types of tracking. We then discuss some potential sources of this US-style tracking, namely self-selection and observed and unobserved school characteristics, all of which can be relevant factors in explaining within-track school heterogeneity. We also investigate whether stratification is linked with income and residential segregation, and we find limited evidence of segregation. Finally, the low mobility of students suggests the need for disclosing more information on each school quality.

Keywords: Public Schools; Educational Inequalities; Schools Stratification; Tracking; House Prices; Income S egregation. (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: I24 I28 R23 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Pages: 28 pages
Date: 2015-04
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-edu and nep-ure
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http://www.bemservizi.unito.it/repec/tur/wpapnw/m30.pdf First version, 2015 (application/pdf)

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Persistent link: https://EconPapers.repec.org/RePEc:tur:wpapnw:030

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