As early school leaving has been shown to have a substantial impact on later life outcomes, it has received considerable attention in policy debates. However, national and regional differences in early school leaving are not necessarily due to differences in policymaking but might be the consequence of underlying differences in the economic and social structure of a region. This paper develops a procedure to account for regional differences in assessing performance in regard to early school leaving. The application focusses on Spain, which has a high rate of early school leaving and significant differences between regions. The results show that most regional differences can be attributed to population composition. However, three regions perform better once population characteristics are accounted for.


  • Most regional differences in ESL are attributed to population composition.
  • However, the analysis reveals that three regions behave better in tackling ESL.
  • Equity-based policies and better funding could explain the differential performance.
  • Matching analysis permit to better account differences in ESL across regions.

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Statistics and data
Statistics and data

Reducing the EU average share of early leavers from education and training to below 10% of young people (18-24 year-olds) is one of the specific objectives of the Europe 2020 strategy.

Reducing early leaving will make young people better equipped with knowledge and skills for facing the future, including their transition from initial education and training to the labour market.