Cleaning the slate? School choice and educational outcomes in Spain

Abstract

Using data from a nation-wide survey on Spanish workers, this paper examines two issues: the determinants of school choice (distinguishing between public and private schools) and the influence of school type on the individual’s educational attainment. For that, bivariate probit models are estimated. The analysis is carried out separately by gender and birth cohort. We find that individuals who have attended a private school come from households with higher socio-cultural level and that having attended a private school does not raise the probability of reaching a higher degree, once potential endogeneity of school choice and educational outcomes are taken into account. However, the latter result depends on the instrumental variable used for observed school type in models of demand for higher education.

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Notes

  1. 1.

    The main laws in force during the Francoist period regarding the educational system were the following: the 1938 law on the reform of the secondary education, the 1943 law on university and the 1945 law on primary education. For a detailed analysis of the educational system during that period, see de Puelles Benítez (1986).

  2. 2.

    Figures come from the second quarters of the Spanish Labour Force Survey (EPA). We consider that individuals demanded for higher education if either they had a university degree or they were studying at the university (in the 4 weeks previous to the interview).

  3. 3.

    A similar problem exists if private schools are able to select potential students through personal interviews or to expel students on either academic or disciplinary grounds.

  4. 4.

    Ceuta and Melilla (the Spanish cities in North-Africa) are excluded from the sample frame.

  5. 5.

    More information on the survey can be found in the Ministry of Labour and Immigration web site: www.mtin.es.

  6. 6.

    The survey does not allow one to properly identify purely private schools and private schools partially funded with public money (educación privada concertada). This is the reason why we will refer here to public schools and the rest (private).

  7. 7.

    Moreover, either being an only child or having brothers or sisters but being the oldest one, having a Spanish father, and not living with the parents at the age of 16 are factors correlated with a higher probability of having attended a private school (we must note that studying in a private school may be associated with being sent to a boarding school).

  8. 8.

    Since school type is a dummy, the marginal effect is the sample average of the difference in the predicted probabilities when the dummy variable is set to one or zero. The predicted probability for public school students (dummy = 0) is calculated holding other personal and family characteristics constant and correcting the potential endogeneity of the school choice variable.

  9. 9.

    Identical result is found for all birth cohorts.

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Correspondence to Carlos García-Serrano.

Appendix

Appendix

See Tables 5 and 6.

Table 5 Descriptives of the full sample. ECVT (1999–2004)
Table 6 Results of the bivariate probit models (IV estimates, ‘strategy A’)

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Albert, C., García-Serrano, C. Cleaning the slate? School choice and educational outcomes in Spain. High Educ 60, 559–582 (2010). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10734-010-9315-9

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Keywords

  • School choice
  • Higher education
  • Human capital