Inequality in educational achievement

Bas van Leeuwen, Jieli Li

Research output: Chapter in book/volumeChapterScientificpeer-review


Education is far from universally attainable, with the resulting educational inequality having wide implications for both individuals and societies. Because of this importance, this chapter reports trends in educational inequality from the 19th century to the present. We do this by using relative and absolute measures of inequality in (formal) educational attainment. Overall, we observe a strong decline in the Gini coefficient of years of schooling over the period, a decline that is caused mostly by a reduction in the share of persons with no formal education. Looking at absolute inequality, as measured by the standard deviation, we find a rising trend in the first half of the 20th century and a decline afterwards.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationHow was life? Volume II: New perspectives on well-being and global inequality since 1820
EditorsJan Luiten van Zanden, Marco Mira d'Ercole, Mikolaj Malinowski, Auke Rijpma
Place of PublicationParis
PublisherOECD Publishing
ISBN (Electronic)9789264403154
ISBN (Print)9789264800298
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • well-being
  • inequality
  • education
  • wealth
  • GDP


Dive into the research topics of 'Inequality in educational achievement'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this