10 Comparative Economics of Education

Finally, studies of the comparative economics of education use international variations in educational features to better understand the economics of education. Many studies based on data from the international student achievement tests like PISA or TIMSS belong to this type: For example, Woessmann (2003a) uses international evidence to show the crucial importance of educational institutions for the cross-country variation in student performance, and Woessmann (2003c) looks at the cross-country pattern of within-country determinants of student performance, including the relative size of family-background effects. Leuven, Oosterbeek and van Ophem (2003) use international differences in the demand and supply of skill to explain international differences in wage differentials by skill groups. De la Fuente (2003) calculates and compares rates of return to education across European countries, and Psacharopoulos (1994) and Psacharopoulos and Patrinos (2003) present comparative evidence on returns to investment in education from additional countries. Brunello and Comi (2003) present evidence from eleven European countries on the impact of education on earnings growth, and Brunello and Medio (2001) explain international differences in workplace training. Wolter (2000) compares wage expectations of Swiss and US students with regard to certain educational decisions, and there are many more works done by network participants on comparative education.

More recent studies also rely on international differences in educational systems to identify specific effects of educational institutions: Cross-country variation in the application of central examination (Woessmann 2005) or in the existence of ability tracking (Hanushek and Woessmann 2006) helps to analyze effects of these features on cognitive achievement. Ammermüller, Heijke and Woessmann (2005) compare seven east European countries to study the determinants of schooling quality in transition countries. Brunello, Fort and Weber (2009) use different compulsory schooling laws in 12 European countries to identify effects of schooling on earnings inequality.



10a Returns to education
10b Institutions of the education system
10c Effectiveness
10d (In)equality
10e Finance