The present study analyzes educational targeting in Argentina, Brazil and Chile from a sociological point of view. It shows that a 'logic of induction' has become the vehicle for anti-poverty education strategies meant to help targeted groups improve on their own. The analysis explores the influence of the global educational agenda, the empirical connection between the logic of induction and the mechanism of emulation, and the territorial aspects of educational inequalities. Emulation plays a main role inasmuch as the logic of induction leads targeted groups to compare their adverse situation with more privileged groups, which actually legitimizes inequalities. A brief statistical summary completes the study, showing that educational inequality has remained unchanged as far as urban-rural ratios (in Brazil and Chile) and regional disparities (in all three countries) are concerned. © Springer 2006.