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Equality of opportunity and the expansion of higher education in the UK

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  • Vincenzo Carrieri
  • Apostolos Davillas
  • Andrew M. Jones

Abstract

Using nine waves of data from Understanding Society (UKHLS), we study the expansion of higher education in the UK and its consequences for levels of and inequalities in income, physical and mental health. University expansion was characterized by a large increase in the proportion of graduates, with higher rates of graduation among individuals from more advantaged socioeconomic backgrounds. Having controlled for birth cohort and lifecycle effects, there is evidence of significant inequality of opportunity (IOp) in the actual outcomes. However, comparing actual outcomes with counterfactual projections, that freeze the likelihood of university graduation and the joint distribution of graduation and circumstances to the pre‐1963 levels, we do not detect an impact of the expansion of higher education on IOp in income and only small reductions in IOp in physical and mental health.

Suggested Citation

  • Vincenzo Carrieri & Apostolos Davillas & Andrew M. Jones, 2023. "Equality of opportunity and the expansion of higher education in the UK," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 69(4), pages 861-885, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:revinw:v:69:y:2023:i:4:p:861-885
    DOI: 10.1111/roiw.12613
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • C1 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric and Statistical Methods and Methodology: General
    • D63 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Equity, Justice, Inequality, and Other Normative Criteria and Measurement
    • I12 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health Behavior
    • I14 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health and Inequality

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