The Expansion of Mass Education in Twentieth Century Latin America: A Global Comparative Perspective

Ewout Frankema
2009 Revista de Historia Económica / Journal of Iberian and Latin American Economic History  
This paper studies the expansion of mass education in Latin America in the twentieth century from a global comparative perspective. The paper argues that expansion in terms of enrolment and attainment levels was quite impressive. A comparative analysis of the grade enrolment distribution demonstrates, however, that the rapid expansion of primary school enrolment did not correspond with an equally impressive improvement in educational quality. The persistently large tertiary education bias in
more » ... ducation bias in public education spending suggests that part of the poor quality performance is related to a lack of fiscal support for primary education and that the political economy explanation for educational underdevelopment, as advanced by Engerman, Mariscal and Sokoloff for the 19 th century, still applied to Latin America during most of the 20 th century. three anonymous referees for their valuable comments on previous drafts. Financial support from the Dutch Science Foundation (NWO) and ESF (Global Euronet) is gratefully acknowledge.
doi:10.1017/s0212610900000811 fatcat:d22vtx6bgnefnhoxje3p4zhpli