Working Paper Series, UCD Centre for Economic Research 14/20
Recent developments in the inequality literature has stressed the importance of inequality of opportunity as opposed to inequality of outcome. In this paper we investigate the presence of ex post inequality of opportunity in two measures of educational achievement for a representative sample of Irish 9 year olds. Students are partitioned into four groups according to maternal education levels and gaps in outcomes are calculated between each group. Quantile decompositions of the pairwise gaps reveal that almost half of the gaps can be explained by differences in characteristics between the groups Detailed decompositions show consistently significant effects for income, number of childrens books in the home and maternal age.