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Does the Expansion of Higher Education Reduce Educational Inequality? Evidence from 12 European Countries

Expansion of higher education leads in principle to attainments’ equalization. Using EU-SILC dataset, this hypothesis is tested for 12 European countries. The paper novelty is to convert multi-dimensional information on parental background in a continuous scale to express origins in relative terms, eliminating the influence of compositional changes. It is shown that the higher education expansion brought about an increase in background-related inequality, which mainly occurred in last decade and has been concentrated in the bottom-half of the background distribution. In the top half, a timid inversely U-shaped relationship emerged especially when considering the transition from upper-secondary to tertiary education.

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Paper provided by Observatoire Francais des Conjonctures Economiques (OFCE) in its series Documents de Travail de l'OFCE with number 2011-12.

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Date of creation: Jun 2011
Handle: RePEc:fce:doctra:1112
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