School choice and Equity: OECD Literature Review

Pauline Musset’s OECD Education Working Paper ‘School choice and equity, current policies in OECD countries and literature review’ is a great review of research exploring motivations and educational outcomes of school choice policies, with a particular focus on evidence based research.  This working paper is one of the most lucid and succinct reviews of the very contentious area of education policy and its ability to effect educational outcomes.

Some of the topics covered are:

  • self-segregation based on ability, ethnicity or socioeconomic background
  • diversity of schooling
  • performance differences across school types and countries
  • the use of vouchers and the effectiveness of different types of voucher systems
  • how school choice can exacerbate social inequity

I found Pauline Musset’s classifications of the ideological motivations for increasing school choice opportunities for parents particularly useful.  She classifies these motivations into 3 groups:

  • introduction of market mechanisms in education to remedy inefficiencies;
  • individualist-libertarian claims of a parental right for choice in education;
  • school choice as a way of making education systems more equitable.


Musset, P. (2012), “School Choice and Equity: Current Policies in OECD Countries and a Literature Review”, OECD Education Working Papers, No. 66, OECD Publishing.

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