Patterns of Cross-National Variation in the Association Between Income and Academic Achievement

Author/s: 
Anna K. Chmielewski, Sean F. Reardon
Year of Publication: 
2016
Publication: 
AERA Open
Volume/Issue: 
2(3)
Pages: 
1-27

In a recent paper, Reardon (2011) found that the relationship between family income and children’s academic achievement grew substantially stronger in the 1980s and 1990s in the US. We provide an international context for these results by examining the income-achievement association in 19 other OECD countries using data from the PIRLS and PISA studies. First, we calculate and compare the magnitude of “income achievement gaps” across this sample of countries. Second, we investigate the association between the size of a country’s income achievement gap, its income inequality, and a variety of other country characteristics. We find considerable variation across countries in income achievement gaps. Moreover, the US income achievement gap is quite large in comparison to this sample of countries. Our multivariate analyses show that the income achievement gap is positively associated with educational differentiation, modestly negatively associated with curricular standardization, and positively associated with national levels of poverty and inequality.

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APA Citation

Chmielewski, A.K., & Reardon, S.F. (2016). Patterns of Cross-National Variation in the Association Between Income and Academic Achievement. AERA Open, 2(3), 1-27.