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Participation, equality of opportunity and returns to tertiary education in contemporary Europe

  • Fabrizio Bernardi

    ()

    (Dept. of Social and Political Studies, European University Institute, Florence)

  • Gabriele Ballarino

    ()

    (Dept. of Labour and Welfare Studies, University of Milan)

Registered author(s):

    The aim of the paper is to investigate the consequences of higher educational expansion on two goals of the educational system, that of promoting equity of educational opportunities and that of providing credentials that facilitate the matching between labour supply and demand. The first goal is typically studied by research on inequality of educational opportunities, the second by research on returns to education and credential inflation. The key idea of the paper is that educational expansion can have different and possible opposite effects on the two goals. a. If with educational expansion equality of educational opportunities increases, while the occupational values of the titles decreases, one has a trade-off scenario, ie an increase in equality of educational opportunities is matched by a decline in the value of higher education in the labour market. b. If equality of opportunities does not increase, despite expansion of higher education, and the returns of higher education degrees decline, one has then a worst-off scenario. a. Finally, if with educational expansion equality of opportunities increases and there is no credential inflation, one has a best-off scenario In this paper we systematically investigate these alternative scenarios. We perform the same empirical analysis on two distinct data sets in order to test the robustness of our findings. We use micro data from EU-SILC 2005 and from the four merged waves of the European Social Survey (2002- 2008) for 23 countries. *

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    File URL: http://www2.almalaurea.it/universita/pubblicazioni/wp/pdf/wp10.pdf
    File Function: First version, 2011
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    Paper provided by AlmaLaurea Inter-University Consortium in its series Working Papers with number 10.

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    Length: 25
    Date of creation: Sep 2011
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:laa:wpaper:10
    Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.almalaurea.it

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    1. Gabriele Ballarino & Massimiliano Bratti, 2009. "Field of Study and University Graduates' Early Employment Outcomes in Italy during 1995-2004," LABOUR, CEIS, vol. 23(3), pages 421-457, 09.
    2. Brunello, Giorgio & Cappellari, Lorenzo, 2005. "The Labour Market Effects of Alma Mater: Evidence from Italy," IZA Discussion Papers 1562, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    3. Claudia Goldin, 1999. "Egalitarianism and the Returns to Education during the Great Transformation of American Education," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 107(S6), pages S65-S94, December.
    4. Glenn Firebaugh, 2008. "The First Rule, from Seven Rules for Social Research
      [Seven Rules for Social Research]
      ," Introductory Chapters, Princeton University Press.
    5. Muller, Walter & Gangl, Markus (ed.), 2003. "Transitions from Education to Work in Europe: The Integration of Youth into EU Labour Markets," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199252473, March.
    6. Daron Acemoglu, 2000. "Technical Change, Inequality, and the Labor Market," NBER Working Papers 7800, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. Elena Meschi & Francesco Scervini, 2014. "A new dataset on educational inequality," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 47(2), pages 695-716, September.
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