Change or stability in educational inequalities? Educational mobility and school effects in the context of a major urban policy



Urban areas are facing increasing social inequalities, which governments try to tackle with social policy. This study examines one of the most ambitious urban policies in the history of Dutch policies that aims to increase educational attainment amongst disadvantaged children in one of the poorest areas in the Netherlands. We investigate to what extent inequality in educational attainment based on parental education has changed during the first period of this programme. We further examine to what extent school characteristics affect educational attainment and how these effects relate to targeting disadvantaged areas for policy intervention. Register data on the individual, school and area level were employed to study these issues. We find that the effect of parental education on secondary school attainment has been stable since the start of the programme, indicating that inequality has not decreased in the context of the programme. Furthermore, several school characteristics, including socioeconomic status and retention rate, were relevant in explaining differences in educational attainment. We discuss the implications of our findings regarding the allocation of public resources for policy programmes based on area and school characteristics.
Date made available2023

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