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K2SP 3060 - Education Policy

Type d'enseignement : Lecture alone

Semester : Autumn 2020-2021

Number of hours : 24

Language of tuition : English


No specific pre-requisites

Course Description

This course presents some of the main educational policies implemented in developed countries. These policies will be analyzed both from a sociological viewpoint and from an economic perspective. Most of the lectures will be based on academic papers (published in academic journals or working paper series). Preschool, primary, secondary and higher education will be covered. After a presentation of educational systems in an international perspective the course will be devoted to various topics, such as preschool interventions, corrective action in low performing schools, education action zones, class size reduction, the role of cognitive skills in educational achievement, school choice and educational inequalities, school quality, school mix, peer effects in education, access to postsecondary education, effects of financial aid in postsecondary education, affirmative action in higher education.


  • FOUGERE, Denis (Research Director CNRS)
  • VAN ZANTEN, Agnès (Directrice de recherche CNRS, Sciences Po)

Pedagogical format

Instructors will deliver two-hour lectures in sessions 1 to 4. They will deliver a one-hour lecture in sessions 5 to 12. The 2nd hour of sessions 5-12 will be devoted to the presentation of an academic article (or a working paper) in relation to the session theme by a group of 3 or 4 students. Moreover, students will have to write a final review paper on topics not directly covered during the course. These papers (which should be prepared by groups of 3 or 4 students) will be handed to the instructors at the end of the course. There is no final exam in this course.

Course validation

Students must: 1) Give an oral presentation of one or two academic articles (or working papers) in sessions 5 to 12 of the course (that is the last 8 sessions); each presentation will last one hour; it will be prepared and delivered by a group of 3 or 4 students; 2) Write a review paper (approximately 20/25 pages) which will be handed to the instructors during the last (12th) session of the course; Review papers should cover topics that were not presented in length during the course. These topics will be proposed by the instructors. Each paper will be written by a group of 3 or 4 students. There is no final exam.


Before each session of the course, students will have to read several academic articles (or working papers) related to the theme of the session.

Required reading

  • VAN DE WERFHORST H. G. & DE MIJS J. B., « Achievement inequality and the institutional structure of educational systems: A comparative perspective », Annual Review of Sociology, 2010, vol. 36, p. 407-428
  • Ludger Woessmann, “The importance of School Systems: Evidence from International Differences in Student Achievement”, CESifo Working Paper No. 5951, June 2016
  • Belfield Clive R., Levin Henry M., 2002, "The Effects of Competition between Schools on Educational Outcomes: A Review for the United States", Review of Educational Research, 72:279-341
  • Eric A. Hanushek & Ludger Woessmann, “The Role of Cognitive Skills in Economic Development”, Journal of Economic Literature, 2008, vol. 46(3), pp. 607-668
  • Perna L., Rowan-Kenyon H., Tomas S. (2008), « The Role of College Counseling in Shaping College Opportunity: Variations across High Schools », The Review of Higher Education, 31 (2), 131-159

Additional required reading

  • Bruce Sacerdote, “Peer Effects in Education: How Might They Work, How Big Are They and How Much Do We Know Thus Far?” Handbook of the Economics of Education, Vol. 3, 2011, pp. 249–277, Elsevier.
  • Power S., Gewirtz S. “Reading Education action zones”, Journal of Education Policy, vol. 16, 2001, pp. 39-51
  • Alan Krueger, “Economic Considerations and Class Size”, Economic Journal, 2003, vol. 113(485), pp. F34-F63.
  • Waslander S., Pater C.J., Van der Weide M. (2010), Markets in Education: an Analytical Review of Empirical Research on Market Mechanisms in Education, OECD Education Working Papers, n° 52, OECD Publishing.
  • David Card, Alan B. Krueger, “Does School Quality Matter? Returns to Education and the Characteristics of Public Schools in the United States”, Journal of Political Economy, 1992, vol. 100(1),pp. 1-40
  • Vowden K. J. (2012), “Safety in Numbers? Middle-Class Parents and Social Mix
  • Christopher Avery and Sarah Turner, “Student Loans: Do College Students Borrow Too Much—Or Not Enough?”, Journal of Economic Perspectives, 2012, Vol. 26(1), pp. 165-192
  • Hamrick, F. A., Hossler, D. (1996), “Diverse information-gathering methods in the postsecondary decision-making process”, Review of Higher Education, 19, pp. 179–198.
  • “Affirmative Action and the Quality–Fit Trade-off”, Peter Arcidiacono and Michael Lovenheim, Journal of Economic Literature, 2016, vol. 54(1), pp. 3–51
  • Grodsky E., « Compensatory Sponsorship in Higher Education », American Journal of Sociology, vol. 112, n°6, 2007