We investigate whether the inclusion of educational rights in political constitutions affects the quality of education. We rely on data for 61 countries that participated in the 2012 PISA tests. Our results are strong and robust to the estimation technique (least squares or instrumental variables): there is no evidence that including the right to education in the constitution has been associated with higher test scores. The quality of education depends on socioeconomic, structural, and policy variables, such as expenditure per student, the teacher-pupil ratio, and families' background. These results are important for emerging countries that are discussing the adoption of new constitutions, such as Thailand and Chile.
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© 2015 Association for Comparative Economic Studies.