Mind the gap: education inequality at the regional level in Portugal, 1986-2005

  • João Gabriel Fidalgo Universidade de Coimbra
  • Marta Simões
  • Adelaide Duarte


Portugal stands as one of the most unequal countries in terms of income among the developed countries. Over the period 1980-2005, income inequality kept high, fostered mainly by a monotonic increase in earnings inequality. Given the close link between education and earnings, it is of major importance to study the distribution of education. This paper examines the distribution of education at the regional level in Portugal between 1986 and 2005. Our results indicate that education inequality decreased for the whole country as the average education level of the workforce rose, over the sample years. This finding does not apply at the regional level however, with several districts initially poor in terms of education exhibiting an increase in education inequality. The evidence also supports the existence of a Kuznets curve of education: as the average level of education rises, education inequality first increases, and, after reaching a peak at 5.13 years of schooling, starts declining.


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