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Enrolment in Higher Education and Changes in Income Inequality


  • Kevin Sylwester

    (Southern Illinois University-Carbondale)


Using a cross-section of countries, this paper empirically examines whether greater enrolment rates in higher education are associated with increases or decreases in subsequent income inequality as measured by the Gini coefficient. It finds a negative association between the two, suggesting that countries with larger enrolment rates saw their income inequality decrease relative to other countries. These findings are robust to the inclusion of several control variables and to limiting the sample to non-OECD countries. Copyright Blackwell Publishers Ltd and the Board of Trustees of the Bulletin of Economic Research, 2003.

Suggested Citation

  • Kevin Sylwester, 2003. "Enrolment in Higher Education and Changes in Income Inequality," Bulletin of Economic Research, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 55(3), pages 249-262, July.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:buecrs:v:55:y:2003:i:3:p:249-262

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Sylwester, Kevin, 2002. "Can education expenditures reduce income inequality?," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 21(1), pages 43-52, February.
    2. Oded Galor & Joseph Zeira, 1993. "Income Distribution and Macroeconomics," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 60(1), pages 35-52.
    3. Park, Kang H., 1996. "Educational expansion and educational inequality on income distribution," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 15(1), pages 51-58, February.
    4. By Ales BulÌr, 2001. "Income Inequality: Does Inflation Matter?," IMF Staff Papers, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 48(1), pages 1-5.
    5. Roberto Perotti, 1993. "Political Equilibrium, Income Distribution, and Growth," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 60(4), pages 755-776.
    6. Clarke, George R. G., 1995. "More evidence on income distribution and growth," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 47(2), pages 403-427, August.
    7. Bourguignon, F. & Morrisson, C., 1990. "Income distribution, development and foreign trade : A cross-sectional analysis," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 34(6), pages 1113-1132, September.
    8. Li, Hongyi & Squire, Lyn & Zou, Heng-fu, 1998. "Explaining International and Intertemporal Variations in Income Inequality," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 108(446), pages 26-43, January.
    9. Edwards, Sebastian, 1997. "Trade Policy, Growth, and Income Distribution," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 87(2), pages 205-210, May.
    10. Ahluwalia, Montek S., 1976. "Inequality, poverty and development," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 3(4), pages 307-342, December.
    11. Ram, Rati, 1989. "Can educational expansion reduce income inequality in less-developed countries?," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 8(2), pages 185-195, April.
    12. Savvides, Andreas, 1998. "Trade policy and income inequality: new evidence," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 61(3), pages 365-372, December.
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    Cited by:

    1. Mazhar Yasin MUGHAL & Barassou DIAWARA, 2011. "Explaining Income Inequalities in Developing Countries:the Role of Human Capital," Working Papers 2011-2012_2, CATT - UPPA - Université de Pau et des Pays de l'Adour, revised Dec 2011.

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