Mathematical Performance among the Poor: Comparative Performance across Developing Countries

  • Janeli KotzéEmail author
  • Servaas van der Berg


This chapter provides a perspective on the interplay between low education and poverty among different education systems by comparing data from 7 sub-Saharan countries and 14 Latin-American countries. A new method for comparing socio-economic status across different educational evaluations is used to compare the mathematics performance of children in equally impoverished circumstances across developing countries. More specifically this measure is applied to the SACMEQ (sub-Saharan Africa) and SERCE (Latin America) education datasets to compare the educational outcomes of students living under the $3.10-a-day poverty line. Most strikingly, the comparison shows that Ugandan and Mozambican children living under the $3.10-a-day poverty line achieve much higher educational outcomes than similarly poor children in middle-income countries such as South Africa and the Dominican Republic.

JEL Classification

D63 I24 I32 


Income distribution Asset index Inequality in Education Social gradients 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of EconomicsStellenbosch UniversityStellenboschSouth Africa

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