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Spain in PISA and in sports


It may happen that the reader considers that the P.GDP is not the variable of

interest but the really interesting one is the expenditure in education. This is not

completely true. In fact the variable of interest depends on the goal of the study.

If we are interested in knowing if Spain is below the position it deserves, then

the right variable is the P.GDP. However, if we were interested in the efficiency

of the system (i.e. if the results of Spain are reasonable given the amount of

money invested in education) then, the variable of choice would be the amount

of money spent in education. Therefore, although I will also pay some attention

to the last variable, main interest here will be focussed in the P.GDP.

The investment in education by country was computed as the P.GDP times

the proportion of the GDP spent in education. Those proportions were down-

loaded from


] on June 3, 2014. In this site, the United Nations Organization

offers, for many countries, the proportion of their GDP that they spent in edu-

cation during several years. For instance, for Spain the series starts on 1976 and

ends on 2010.

This link offers no data for Montenegro and Taiwan. For the remaining

countries, I have taken the most recent value in the corresponding series. This

year goes from 1997 for United Arab Emirates (and 1999 for Jordania, 2001 for

Luxemburg, 2005 for Greece,. . . ) to 2012 for Singapore (and 2011 for Uruguay

and some more).

Previous considerations are also valid for the sports case, with the difference

that it does not seem easy to obtain the money spent by most countries in sport.

Thus, in this case, only the P.GDP will be used as predictor variable.

An additional word on methodology: there are far more countries partici-

pating in the Olympic Games than in the PISA studies. A main goal here is to

compare the result of Spain in the 2012 PISA evaluation with the result in Lon-

don 2012. Thus, I have only considered the results in London of the countries

participating in PISA.

The paper continues as follows: In Section


, I describe the PISA studies

and analyze the situation of Spain in the 2012 report. Section


is devoted to

analyze the results of the London 2012 Olympic Games. The paper ends with a

short discussion.

All computations have been carried out with





2. Spain and the 2012 PISA report

The Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) conducts per-

formance evaluations of 15 years old school students. It was first done in 2000

and it has been repeated every three years under the auspices of the OECD. It

measures the performance on Mathematics, Science, and Reading.

The test is based on the selection of one sample per participant country that

is considered representative of the country. If a country requests it, the study