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The Widening Socio-Economic Gap in UK Higher Education

Author

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  • Fernando Galindo-Rueda

    (Centre for Economic Performance, London School of Economics and Centre for the Economics of Education.)

  • Oscar Marcenaro-Gutierrez

    (Centre for Economic Performance, London School of Economics and Centre for the Economics of Education.)

  • Anna Vignoles

    (Institute of Education and Centre for the Economics of Education, a.f.vignoles@lse.ac.uk)

Abstract

This paper provides up-to-date empirical evidence on the socio-economic gap in higher education (HE) participation, for the period spanning the introduction of tuition fees. We assess whether the gap has widened and ask whether the socio-economic gap emerges on entry into university or much earlier in the education system. We do this in two ways. Firstly we consider the likelihood of going to university for school leavers in poor neighbourhoods and analyse changes in this likelihood over time. Secondly, we use more detailed individual level data to model the determinants of HE participation, focusing on changes in the relationship between family background and HE participation over time. We find that the growth in HE participation amongst poorer students has been remarkably high, mainly because it was starting from such a low base. However, the gap between rich and poor, in terms of HE participation, has widened during the 1990s. Children from poor neighbourhoods have become relatively less likely to participate in HE since 1994/5, as compared to children from richer neighbourhoods. This trend started before the introduction of tuition fees. Much of the class difference in HE participation seems to reflect inequalities at earlier stages of the education system.

Suggested Citation

  • Fernando Galindo-Rueda & Oscar Marcenaro-Gutierrez & Anna Vignoles, 2004. "The Widening Socio-Economic Gap in UK Higher Education," National Institute Economic Review, National Institute of Economic and Social Research, vol. 190(1), pages 75-88, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:sae:niesru:v:190:y:2004:i:1:p:75-88
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Jo Blanden & Stephen Machin, 2013. "Educational Inequality and The Expansion of UK Higher Education," Scottish Journal of Political Economy, Scottish Economic Society, vol. 60(5), pages 578-596, November.
    2. Jo Blanden & Paul Gregg & Stephen Machin, 2003. "Changes in Educational Inequality," The Centre for Market and Public Organisation 03/079, Department of Economics, University of Bristol, UK.
    3. Janet Currie & Duncan Thomas, 1999. "Early Test Scores, Socioeconomic Status and Future Outcomes," NBER Working Papers 6943, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Dolton, P J & Makepeace, G H & Gannon, B M, 2001. "The Earnings and Employment Effects of Young People's Vocational Training in Britain," Manchester School, University of Manchester, vol. 69(4), pages 387-417, September.
    5. Fernando Galindo-Rueda & Anna Vignoles, 2005. "The Declining Relative Importance of Ability in Predicting Educational Attainment," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 40(2).
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Philippe De Donder & Francisco Martinez-Mora, 2015. "On the Political Economy of University Admission Standards," Discussion Papers in Economics 15/11, Department of Economics, University of Leicester.
    2. Steve Machin & Anna Vignoles, 2005. "Education Policy in the UK," ifo DICE Report, ifo Institute - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich, vol. 3(4), pages 64-74, January.
    3. Grabowsky, Sonja & Miethe, Ingrid & Kranz, Dani, 2013. "Widening Participation-Maßnahmen und Outreach-Programmes für non-traditional Students in England," Arbeitspapiere 294, Hans-Böckler-Stiftung, Düsseldorf.
    4. Haroon Chowdry & Claire Crawford & Lorraine Dearden & Alissa Goodman & Anna Vignoles, 2013. "Widening participation in higher education: analysis using linked administrative data," Journal of the Royal Statistical Society Series A, Royal Statistical Society, vol. 176(2), pages 431-457, February.
    5. Claire Crawford, 2014. "Socio-economic differences in university outcomes in the UK: drop-out, degree completion and degree class," IFS Working Papers W14/31, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
    6. Steve Machin & Anna Vignoles, 2005. "Education Policy in the UK," ifo DICE Report, ifo Institute - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich, vol. 3(4), pages 64-74, 01.
    7. Vincent Carpentier & Elaine Unterhalter, 2011. "Globalization, Higher Education and Inequalities: Problems and Prospects," Chapters,in: Handbook on Globalization and Higher Education, chapter 9 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    8. Javier Valbuena, 2012. "A Longitudinal Perspective on Higher Education Participation in the UK," Studies in Economics 1215, School of Economics, University of Kent.
    9. Wales, Philip, 2013. "Access all areas? The impact of fees and background on student demand for postgraduate higher education in the UK," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 57846, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    10. Rita Asplund & Oussama Ben Adbelkarim & Ali Skalli, 2008. "An equity perspective on access to, enrolment in and finance of tertiary education," Education Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 16(3), pages 261-274.
    11. Burgess, Simon & Briggs, Adam, 2010. "School assignment, school choice and social mobility," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 29(4), pages 639-649, August.
    12. Jake Anders, 2012. "Using the Longitudinal Study of Young People in England for research into Higher Education access," DoQSS Working Papers 12-13, Department of Quantitative Social Science - UCL Institute of Education, University College London.
    13. Philip Wales, 2013. "Access All Areas? The Impact of Fees and Background on Student Demand for Postgraduate Higher Education in the UK," SERC Discussion Papers 0128, Spatial Economics Research Centre, LSE.
    14. Peter Dolton & Li Lin, 2011. "From Grants to Loans and Fees: The Demand for Post-Compulsory Education in England and Wales from 1955 to 2008," CEE Discussion Papers 0127, Centre for the Economics of Education, LSE.
    15. repec:eee:pubeco:v:154:y:2017:i:c:p:1-9 is not listed on IDEAS
    16. Oscar Marcenaro-Gutierrez & Fernando Galindo-Rueda & Anna Vignoles, 2007. "Who actually goes to university?," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 32(2), pages 333-357, May.
    17. De Donder, Philippe & Martinez-Mora, Francisco, 2017. "The political economy of higher education admission standards and participation gap," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 154(C), pages 1-9.
    18. Cormac O'Dea & Ian Preston, 2012. "The distributional impact of public spending in the UK," IFS Working Papers W12/06, Institute for Fiscal Studies.

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