COVID-19 school closures, learning losses and intergenerational mobility

Auteur(s) : Azevedo, João Pedro; Cojocaru, Alexandru; Talledo, Veronica Montalva; Narayan, Ambar

Publisher(s): World Bank

Date: 2023

Pages: 35 p.

Serie: Policy research working paper

Series Volume: 10381


The paper presents a first global investigation of the longer-term inequality implications of COVID-19 by examining the effect of school closures on the ability of children from different countries and backgrounds to engage in continued learning throughout the pandemic, and their implications for intergenerational mobility in education. The analysis builds on the data from the Global Database of Intergenerational Mobility, country-specific results of the learning loss simulation model using weekly school closure information from February 2020 to February 2022, and high-frequency phone survey data collected by the World Bank during the pandemic to assess the incidence and quality of continued learning during periods of school closures across children from different backgrounds. Based on this information, the paper simulates counterfactual levels of educational attainment and corresponding absolute and relative intergenerational educational mobility measures with and without COVID-19 impacts, to arrive at estimates of COVID-19 impacts. The simulations suggest that the extensive school closures and associated learning losses are likely to have a significant impact on both absolute and relative intergenerational educational mobility in the absence of remedial measures. In upper-middle-income countries, the share of children with more years of education than their parents (absolute mobility) could decline by 8 percentage points, with the largest impacts observed in the Latin America region. Furthermore, unequal access to continued learning during school closures across children from households of different socioeconomic backgrounds (proxied by parental education levels) leads to a significant decline in relative educational mobility.

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