Spatial divisions of poverty and wealth: How much does segregation matter for educational achievement?

Produced by: 
Society for the Study of Economic Inequality (ECINEQ)
Available from: 
June 2020
Paper author(s): 
Gabriel Otero
Rafael Carranza
Dante Contreras
Topic: 
Education - Health
Poverty - Inequality - Aid Effectiveness
Year: 
2020

We explore how different spatial compositions affect the educational achievement in mathematics of 16 year-old students in Chile, a Latin American country with high income inequality and school segregation. We develop a critical review on the literature on negative ”neighbourhood effects” associated with concentrated poverty, complementing it with studies concerning self-segregation preferences by members of the upper-middle class. We combine administrative data about student performance with survey data for the 52 municipalities of the Metropolitan Region of Santiago de Chile. We cluster the districts based on factors such as unemployment, economic inequality, access to services, experiences of violence and stigmatization. Using longitudinal data, we look at the effect of each of the six spatial clusters on academic performance. Spatial clusters report a significant effect, above and beyond that of individual, household, and school-level characteristics. We conclude that space complements and reinforces the processes of accumulation of socioeconomic (dis)advantages.

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Research section: 
Latest Research
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