Neighbourhood effects’ on children’s educational achievement in Chile: The effects of inequality and polarization
This article studies the effects of the neighborhood in which a school is located on children's mathematics achievement in Chile. It uses data taken from a sample of 127,020 sixth grade students measured by the National Education Quality Measurement System [Sistema Nacional de Medición de la Calidad de la Educación]. The incorporation of a measurement of socio-economic polarization of the geographic environment, which is innovative in urban studies, allows us to qualify some critical aspects suggested in the academic discussion. A lagged dependent variable model is used, controlling for the score obtained by the same students in fourth grade. Using multilevel linear regressions, the results show positive effects related to participation in neighborhood organizations. One critical finding is that socio-economic polarization has a negative and significant impact on the educational achievement of sixth graders. The conclusions highlight the repercussions associated with acute inequalities in the neighborhoods, and speak to the importance of accessing dimensions which are more closely linked to cities' social structure.
First Published September 24, 2017.
Over 20 years ago, studies conducted by William Wilson, Christopher Jencks and Susan Mayer presented the effects of growing up in poor communities, mainly on processes such as collective socialization, the influence of peer groups and the institutional capacity to cover basic services (Jencks and Mayer, 1990; Wilson, 1987). The assessment of these authors had a strong influence on later studies on neighbourhood effects (van Ham et al., 2012).
In this approach, researchers share the hypothesis that life in poor or disadvantaged neighborhoods has a negative impact on residents’ life opportunities beyond the effect of their individual characteristics. In practice, neighbourhood effects have been studied in terms of job opportunities, child development and deviant behavior, among other outcomes (Durlauf, 2004; Ellen and Turner, 1997; Sampson et al., 2002). Special attention has been paid to contributions aimed at identifying variations in children’s educational performance. A recent meta-analysis that includes only developed countries shows that the association between neighborhood conditions and educational results has mainly been explained by the concentration of poverty, the learning environment, the relative frequency of the ethnic/ immigrant population and the social disorganization of the reference contexts (Nieuwenhuis and Hooimeijer, 2016).
Otero, G., Carranza, R., & Contreras, D. (2017). ‘Neighbourhood effects’ on children's educational achievement in Chile: The effects of inequality and polarization. Environment and Planning A. First published date: September-24-2017.