ISSN: 2056-3736 (Online Version) | 2056-3728 (Print Version)

Global Dynamics of Gini Coefficients of Education for 146 Countries: Update to 1950-2015 and a Compact Guide to the Literature

Thomas Ziesemer

Correspondence: Thomas Ziesemer,

Department of Economics, Maastricht University, The Netherlands

pdf (610.19 Kb) | doi:


We briefly survey the literature which uses data for Gini coefficients of education. We update the Gini coefficients of education to include the year 2015, added to the Barro-Lee data set recently, and compare them to those of the earlier data set based on older Barro-Lee data. A panel analysis shows that every five years education inequality falls by 2.8 percentage points. A stable average value is predicted to be 0.22. Kernel density world distributions for education Ginis loose their twin peaks when going from 1955 to later years, and the right tail of the distribution with high inequality is losing mass over time.


  Gini coefficients of education, guide to literature, new data, trend, changing global distribution.


Abdullah, A. J., Doucouliagos, H., and Manning, E. (2011). Education and income inequality: A meta-regression analysis. Unpublished manuscript, Deakin University.Ahuja, V. and Filmer, D. (1995) Educational attainment in developing countries: New estimates and projections disaggregated by gender. Background Paper for the World Development Report 1995, The World Bank, Washington DC.Ahuja, V. and Filmer, D. (1996) Educational attainment in developing countries: New estimates and projections disaggregated by gender. Journal of Education Planning and Administration, Vol X (3), 229-254.Arellano, M., and O. Bover (1995). “Another Look at the Instrumental Variables Estimation of Error-components Models,” Journal of Econometrics, 68, 29–51.Argov, Eyal and Shay Tsur (2019) A Long-Run Growth Model for Israel. Bank of Israel Research Department Discussion Paper No. 2019.04, March.Barro, R. and Lee, J.-W. (1993) International comparison of educational attainment. Journal of Monetary Economics 32, 363-394.Barro, R. and J-W Lee (2013). “A New Dataset of Educational Attainment in the World, 1950-2010,” Journal of Development Economics, 104, 184–198.Bartusevičius, Henrikas (2014) The inequality–conflict nexus re-examined: Income, education and popular rebellions. Journal of Peace Research, Volume: 51 issue: 1, page(s): 35-50.Baten, J., Juif, D. (2013) A story of large landowners and math skills: Inequality and human capital formation in long-run development, 1820–2000. Journal of Comparative Economics,, Wail and Maurice Catin (2018) Les inégalités d’éducation: une nouvelle base mondiale (1950-2015) Région et Développement n° 47-2018., Wail, Hanchane, Said, Kamal, Abdelhak (2011). A New Data Set of Educational Inequality in the World, 1950–2010: Gini Index of Education by Age Group. From Published as Chapter 13 ‘Educational Inequality in the World, 1950–2010: Estimates from a New Dataset’, in John A. Bishop, Rafael Salas (ed.) Inequality, Mobility and Segregation: Essays in Honor of Jacques Silber (Research on Economic Inequality, Volume 20), Emer.Berthélemy, J. C. (2006). To what extent are African education policies pro-poor?. Journal of African Economies, 15(3), 434-469.Blom, Andreas, Lauritz Holm-Nielsen and Dorte Verner (2001) Education, Earnings, and Inequality in Brazil, 1982-1998: Implications for Education Policy, Peabody Journal of Education, 76:3-4, 180-221, DOI: 10.1080/0161956X.2001.9681999Borgonovi, F. (2012). The relationship between education and levels of trust and tolerance in Europe 1. The British Journal of Sociology, 63(1), 146-167.Bowman, Kevin James (2007) Knowledge stocks by distance to frontier: Linking low education inequality to high growth in developing countries. Journal of Asian Economics 18, 613–635.Braga, M., Checchi, D., and Meschi, E. (2011). GINI DP 22: Institutional Reforms and Educational Attainment in Europe (No. 22). AIAS, Amsterdam Institute for Advanced Labour Studies.Braga, Michela, Daniele Checchi, Elena Meschi (2013) Educational policies in a long-run perspective. Economic Policy, Volume 28, Issue 73, 1 January, Pages 45–100.Chambers, D., McLaughlin, P. A., and Stanley, L. (2019). Barriers to prosperity: The harmful impact of entry regulations on income inequality. Public Choice, 180(1), 165-190.Camps, Enriqueta and Stanley Engerman (2016) The Impact of Race and Inequality on Human Capital Formation in Latin America During the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries. GSE Barcelona working paper.Carnoy, Martin (2011) As Higher Education Expands, Is It Contributing To Greater Inequality? National Institute Economic Review No. 215 January, 34-47.Castelló-Climent, Amparo (2004) A Reassessment of the Relationship between Inequality and Growth: What Human Capital Inequality data say. WP-EC 2004-15.Castelló-Climent, A. (2008). On the distribution of education and democracy. Journal of Development Economics, 87(2), 179-190.Castelló-Climent, A. (2010). Channels through which human capital inequality influences economic growth. Journal of Human Capital, 4(4), 394-450.Castelló, Amparo and Rafael Doménech (2002). Human Capital Inequality and Economic Growth: Some New Evidence. The Economic Journal, 112 (March), C187-C200.Castelló, A. and Doménech, R. (2008) Human Capital Inequality, Life Expectancy and Economic Growth, The Economic Journal, 118, 653–677.Castelló-Climent, Amparo and Rafael Doménech (2014). Human Capital and Income Inequality: Some Facts and Some Puzzles. BBVA Working Paper Nº 12/ 28, Madrid, March 2014.Castelló-Climent, Amparo and Rafael Doménech (2021) Human capital and income inequality revisited, Education Economics, 29:2, 194-212, DOI:10.1080/09645292.2020.1870936.Castelló-Climent, A., and Mukhopadhyay, A. (2013). Mass education or a minority well educated elite in the process of growth: The case of India. Journal of Development Economics, 105, 303-320.Charles-Coll, Jorge A. (2010) The optimal rate of inequality: A framework for the relationship between income inequality and economic growth. 27 August. Online at, Daniele, (2001) Education, Inequality and Income Inequality. LSE STICERD Research Paper No. 52, (May). Available at SSRN:, D., and Garcı́a-Peñalosa, C. (2004). Risk and the distribution of human capital. Economics Letters, 82(1), 53-61.Clemens, M. A. (2004). The Long Walk to School: International education goals in historical perspective. Center for Global Development Working Paper, (37).Coady, David and Allan Dizioli (2018) Income inequality and education revisited: persistence, endogeneity and heterogeneity, Applied Economics, 50:25, 2747-2761. DOI: 10.1080/00036846.2017.1406659.Cruces, Guillermo, Carolina García Domench, and Leonardo Gasparini (2011) Inequality in Education Evidence for Latin America. UNU-WIDER Working Paper No. 2011/93. December.Cuaresma, Jesus Crespo, Samir K.C., Petra Sauer (2013) Age-Specific Education Inequality, Education Mobility and Income Growth. www Working Paper no 6, June.Cunha Neves, Pedro and Tavares Silva, Sandra Maria (2014) Inequality and Growth: Uncovering the Main Conclusions from the Empirics, The Journal of Development Studies, 50:1, 1-21, DOI: 10.1080/00220388.2013.841885.Digdowiseiso, Kumba (2009) Education inequality, economic growth, and income inequality: Evidence from Indonesia, 1996-2005. Online at 12 (2020) User’s Guide II. Seal Beach, IHS Global Inc.Ferreira, Francisco H. G., and Jérémie Gignoux (2011) The measurement of educational inequality: Achievement and opportunity. ECINEQ Working Paper Series 240.Foldvari, Peter, Bas van Leeuwen, Jieli van Leeuwen-Li (2010) Educational inequality in Europe, 1870-2000. Mimeo.Földvári, Péter and Bas van Leeuwen (2011): Should less inequality in education lead to a more equal income distribution?, Education Economics, 19:5, 537-554.Galor, Oded and Daniel Tsiddon (1997) The distribution of human capital and economic growth. Journal of Economic Growth 2, 93-124.Green, A., Preston, J., and Sabates, R. (2003). Education, equality and social cohesion: a distributional approach. Compare: A Journal of Comparative and International Education, 33(4), 453-470.Gregorio, J. D., and Lee, J. W. (2002). Education and income inequality: new evidence from cross‐country data. Review of income and wealth, 48(3), 395-416.Hicks, D. A. (1997). The inequality-adjusted human development index: A constructive proposal. World Development, 25(8), 1283–1298.Hou, Y. (2018). Essays on Trade and Growth. FIU Electronic Theses and Dissertations. 3806. DOI: 10.25148/etd.FIDC006827.Hou, Y., and Karayalcin, C. (2019). Exports of primary goods and human capital accumulation. Review of International Economics, 27(5), 1371-1408.Ibourk, Aomar and Jabrane Amaghouss (2013) Inequality in Education and Economic Growth: Empirical Investigation and Foundations - Evidence from MENA Region International Journal of Economics and Finance; Vol. 5, No. 2, 111-124.Ibourk, Aomar and Amaghouss, Jabrane (2015) Inequality in Education in the Mena Region: A Macroeconometric Investigation Using Normative Indicators. Applied Econometrics and International Development Vol. 15-2, 129-148.Irarrázaval, Andrés (2020) The Fiscal Origins of Comparative Inequality Levels: An Empirical and Historical Investigation. London School of Economics and Political Science Economic History Working Papers No: 314. November.Jang, J. H. (2021). Analysis of Important Policy Issues Relating to Affirmative Action in Education: Application of Text Mining Method. Turkish Journal of Computer and Mathematics Education (TURCOMAT), 12(13), 1573-1589.Kelly, M. (2000). Inequality and crime. Review of economics and Statistics, 82(4), 530-539.Lee, Jong-Wha and Hanol Lee (2018) Human capital and income inequality, Journal of the Asia Pacific Economy, 23:4, 554-583, DOI: 10.1080/13547860.2018.1515002.Lim, A. S. K., and Tang, K. K. (2008). Human capital inequality and the Kuznets curve. The Developing Economies, 46(1), 26-51.Lopez, Ramon, Vinod Thomas, Yan Wang (1998) Addressing the Education When and how does education bring a country Puzzle high payoffs? World Bank POLICY RESEARCH WORKING PAPER 2031.Maas, J. L. and Criel, C. (1982). Distribution of primary school Enrolments in Eastern Africa, World Bank Staff Working Papers No. 511, The World Bank, Washington D.C.Madsen, Jakob B. and Dung Le (2020) Is Income Inequality Driven by Biased Technological Progress, Education and Educational Inequality? International Evidence, 1870-2016. mimeoMahmood, S., and Noor, Z. M. (2014). Human capital and income inequality in developing countries: New evidence using the Gini coefficient. Journal of Entrepreneurship and Business (JEB), 2(1), 40-48.Malul, M., Shapira, D., and Shoham, A. (2013). Practical modified Gini index. Applied Economics Letters, 20(4), 324-327.Mejía, D., and St-Pierre, M. (2008). Unequal opportunities and human capital formation. Journal of Development Economics, 86(2), 395-413.Meschi, Elena, and Francesco Scervini (2014a) Expansion of schooling and educational inequality in Europe: the educational Kuznets curve revisited. Oxford Economic Papers 66, 660–680 660. doi:10.1093/oep/gpt036.Meschi, Elena, Francesco Scervini (2014b) A new dataset on educational inequality Empirical Economics 47:695–716. DOI 10.1007/s00181-013-0758-6.Morrison, Christian and Fabrice Murtin (2010). The Kuznets Curve of Education: A Global Perspective on Education Inequalities. CEE DP 116, June.Murillo Lozano, M. (2021). El rol de la distribución de capital humano en el crecimiento económico: teoría y evidencia. Universidad Nacional de Colombia.Nomura, T. (2007). Contribution of education and educational equality to economic growth. Applied Economics Letters, 14(9), 627-630.Østby, G., Nordås, R., and Rød, J. K. (2009). Regional inequalities and civil conflict in Sub-Saharan Africa. International Studies Quarterly, 53(2), 301-324.Quah, Danny, (1993). Empirical cross-section dynamics in economic growth." European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 37(2-3), pages 426-434, April.Qi, B., Wang, X., Sutton, P. (2021) Can Nighttime Satellite Imagery Inform Our Understanding of Education Inequality? Remote Sens., 13, 843, 14pp.ğlam, Bahar Bayraktar (2021) Educational Inequality versus Income Inequality: An Empirical Investigation. The Economic and Social Review, Vol. 52, No. 3, Autumn, pp. 269-299.Sarwar, G., Ali, A., and Akram, W. (2021). Educational Expansion and Educational Inequality: Panel Data Evidence from Pakistan. Ilkogretim Online 19 (4): 5277-5285. doi: 10.17051/ilkonline.2020.04.764936.Sauer, Petra, and Martin Zagler (2012) ECONOMIC GROWTH AND THE QUANTITY AND DISTRIBUTION OF EDUCATION: A SURVEY. Journal of Economic Surveys Vol. 26, No. 5, pp. 933–951. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-6419.2011.00713.xSauer, P., and Zagler, M. (2014). (In) equality in education and economic development. Review of Income and Wealth, 60, S353-S379.Serwach, Tomasz (2021) The European Union and Within Country Income Inequalities. The Case of the New Member States. Lodz Economics Working Papers 1/2-021.Speciale, B. (2012). Are educational policies elitist? Oxford Economic Papers, 64(3), 439-463.Thomas, V., Wang, Y. Fan, X. (2000) Measuring Education Inequality: Gini Coefficients of Education, World Bank Institute Working Paper, Washington, D.C.. Also Policy Research Working Paper 2525, January 2001; revised mimeo October 2002.Tsur, Shay, and Eyal Argov (2019) Conditional Convergence and Future TFP Growth in Israel. Bank of Israel Research Department Discussion Paper No. 2019.05, March.Unterhalter, Elaine (2021) Addressing Intersecting Inequalities in Education. Chapter 8 in: Education and International Development An Introduction. Second Edition. Edited by Tristan McCowan and Elaine Unterhalter. London; New York: Bloomsbury Academic.Vegas, E., and Coffin, C. (2015). When education expenditure matters: An empirical analysis of recent international data. Comparative Education Review, 59(2), 289-304.Verway, D. I. (1966). A ranking of states by inequality using census and tax data. The Review of Economics and Statistics, 314-321.Watarai, S., and Tomita, S. (2017). Quantification of Educational Inequality through the Application of Gini Coefficient in Educational Indices. Journal of Advanced Research in Social Sciences and Humanities, 2(3), 221-229. DOI:, J., and Li, T. (2002). International inequality and convergence in educational attainment, 1960–1990. Review of Development Economics, 6(3), 383-392.Zheng, Z., Huang, C. Y., and Wan, X. (2020). Human Capital and Income Inequality in a Monetary Schumpeterian Growth Model.Ziesemer, Thomas (2011) What Changes Gini Coefficients of Education? On the dynamic interaction between education, its distribution and growth. UNU-MERIT 2011-053.Ziesemer, Thomas (2016) Gini Coefficients of Education for 146 Countries, 1950-2010. Bulletin of Applied Economics 3 (2), 1-8.