Measuring educational inequality in South Africa and Perú


Crouch, L., Gustafsson, M., & Lavado, P. (2009). Measuring educational inequality in South Africa and Perú. In D. B. Holsinger, & W. J. Jacob (Eds.), Inequality in Education: Comparative and International Perspectives (pp. 461-484). Dordrecht, the Netherlands: Springer Netherlands. DOI: 10.1007/978-90-481-2652-1_20


In 2000, Thomas, Wang, and Fan published a paper calling for the application of the Gini coefficient to educational attainment. The idea was to treat educational attainment as a wealth stock, and to calculate Gini coefficients for, say, years of attainment, as a way to see trends within countries or to compare countries. Since then there have been a few applications to particular countries. Holsinger, Collins, and Rew (2004) apply a similar methodology to measure regional variations in attainment in Vietnam. In his presidential speech to the Comparative and International Education Society, Holsinger (2005) calls for further analysis of education inequality.

Here we take up this challenge, with several twists and extensions. First, we compare two interesting societies: South Africa and Perú. Second, we extend the concept not just to attainment but to input provision and achievement. Third, our analysis is not about the inequality of education spending or attainment per se, but of its concentration along income lines.