Keywords: Educational Inequalities; Social Background; School Choice; Cognitive Competencies; Drop-outs.
In this article I review the literature on educational inequalities according to social background in Italy, with a focus on quantitative empirical research conducted in the last twenty years. In the first part I briefly discuss the main methods which are used to measure and analyse social inequalities in education. In the second part, I present the empirical results on the relationship between social origin and educational attainment (vertical inequalities) and how this association changed over time. Moreover, I briefly discuss those studies focusing on school dispersion, with an attention on the social gradient in the risk of dropping out. At the end, in the last part I focus on two main ways that can be viewed as ways of inequality reproduction in educational attainment: the choice of school track in upper secondary education and the development of cognitive competences in the earlier stages of educational career.