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Expansion of higher education and the equality of opportunity in Colombia

In: Investigaciones de Economía de la Educación 5

Listed author(s):
  • Mónica Oviedo León


    (Universidad Autónoma de Barcelona)

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    The purpose of this work is to assess the effects of the extraordinary expansion of higher education supply in Colombia during the 1990s on the equality of tertiary education opportunity. In this work, the notion of increasing equality of opportunity is associated with a reduction in the influence of events that are outside individual control. Therefore, the basic question is whether this expansion, in terms of new institutions and new degree programs, contributed to reduce the impact of family background (parental education) on the individual probability of attending and completing the higher education. Using a quasi experimental methodology, this research identifies the students benefited most from this supply expansion and whether these correlations reflect causal effects or not. This analysis suggests that higher education expansion might have increased the relative advantage of individuals belonging to well-off families in terms of access, as it had an equality of opportunity-enhancing effect just for individuals belonging to medium cultural capital families; and on the other hand it seems to have no benefit for the individuals related to the lowest levels of cultural capital. These results can be interpreted as a persistent inequality in higher education opportunity, which can be explained by several factors, such as the inequalities in basic education; the high tuition levels in private higher education institutions coupled with the scarcity of funding sources and the restrictions in the credit market; the negative effects of adverse economic conditions faced by the country at the end of the decade; and the choices made by the students with lowest levels of cultural capital, determined by their backgrounds likely exclude them from entering the higher education institutions.

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    This chapter was published in:
  • María Jesús Mancebón-Torrubia & Domingo P. Ximénez-de-Embún & José María Gómez-Sancho & Gregorio Gim (ed.), 2010. "Investigaciones de Economía de la Educación," E-books Investigaciones de Economía de la Educación, Asociación de Economía de la Educación, edition 1, volume 5, number 05, August.
  • This item is provided by Asociación de Economía de la Educación in its series Investigaciones de Economía de la Educación volume 5 with number 05-28.
    Handle: RePEc:aec:ieed05:05-28
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    1. Massimiliano Bratti & Daniele Checchi & Guido de Blasio, 2008. "Does the Expansion of Higher Education Increase the Equality of Educational Opportunities? Evidence from Italy," LABOUR, CEIS, vol. 22(s1), pages 53-88, 06.
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