- Why are working-class children diverted from universities?: an empirical assessment of the diversion thesis
In spite of educational expansion, the decline of inequality of educational opportunity in schools and the institutional reforms in vocational training and university education, access to university education still remains remarkably unequal across social classes. According to the 'diversion thesis' suggested by Muller and Pollak, which was extended by Hillmert and Jacob, working-class children are distracted from the direct path to university by non-academic educational institutions which affect individuals' educational choices and provide attractive of education and training alternatives in non-academic areas. To investigate why such a diversion occurs, the mechanisms of socially selective educational choices have to be analyzed from the perspective of rational action theory. In order to test this theoretical approach, data of school leavers that have attained the 'Abitur' (high school degree) were collected in East Germany's federal state of Saxony. The main mechanisms responsible for the fact that working-class children are very likely to favour vocational training over education at university are the subjective evaluation of prior educational performance, the probability of success at university, and the subjectively expected costs. In particular, working-class children's educational choices are most influenced by negative estimates of prospective success in university education, which causes them to refrain from university education.
In spite of educational expansion, the decline of inequality of educational opportunity in schools and the institutional ... Show Full Abstract
Authors: Becker, Rolf; Hecken, Anna E.
Geographic subjects: Germany; Europe
Journal title: European sociological review
Resource type: Article
Subjects: Higher education; Participation; Equity;Vocational education and training; Providers of education and training; Finance; Performance show more
- Mechanisms of social inequality development: primary and secondary effects in the transition to tertiary education between 1976 and 2005
Despite educational expansion and decreasing social inequalities in access to upper secondary education, increasing social inequalities can be found in the transition from upper secondary to tertiary education in Germany. Drawing on Boudon's distinction between primary and secondary effects of social origin, we describe two potential sources which can be considered responsible for the observed pattern: first, an increase in performance differentials between upper secondary graduates from different social backgrounds, and second, a heterogenization of educational motivations and post-secondary plans among upper secondary graduates. We test these hypotheses with a series of datasets of upper secondary graduation cohorts from 1976 to 2002, provided by the German Higher Education Information System and apply a decomposition method in order to test the development of the contribution of various measures of primary and secondary effects. We find that primary effects play only a negligible role for the explanation of increasing social inequalities over time, whereas the growing class-specific differences in the transition to tertiary education are primarily due to increasing secondary effects.
Despite educational expansion and decreasing social inequalities in access to upper secondary education, increasing social ... Show Full Abstract
- Explaining participation differentials in Dutch higher education: the impact of subjective success probabilities on level choice and field choice
In this article we examine whether subjective estimates of success probabilities explain the effect of social origin, sex, and ethnicity on students’ choices between different school tracks in Dutch higher education. The educational options analysed differ in level (i.e. university versus professional college) and fields of study (i.e. science versus non-science). First we analyse students’ self-assessed success probabilities for specific tracks in higher education. We hypothesize that differences in demonstrated academic ability explain these perceived success probabilities. Next, we test whether these success probabilities contribute to explaining educational decisions and differentials herein with respect to social background, sex, and ethnicity. We use the Dutch Participation in Higher Education dataset wave 1995 and 1997 to answer our questions. Success probabilities differ across social origins, between men and women, and across ethnic groups, even after controlling for ability differences. Success probabilities contribute to the explanatory model for school transition decisions which differ by field of study and level of schooling. They also help to explain social origin and sex-based differentials in field choice, but not in level choice. Ability is not a sufficient indicator for self-perceived success probabilities: success probabilities explain educational differentials better than ability.
In this article we examine whether subjective estimates of success probabilities explain the effect of social origin, sex, ... Show Full Abstract
- Minority dropout in higher education: a comparison of the United States and Norway using competing risk event history analysis
The objective of this article is to compare college persistence patterns among minority and majority students in universities and colleges in Norway with that of the United States. Despite differences in the educational systems and economic regimes, both countries face the common challenge of ensuring educational equity, especially among students from socioeconomically disadvantaged backgrounds and minority students. Using competing risk event history analysis, this article examines nationally representative samples of students to assess the relative year-to-year risk of dropping out from higher education among minority and majority students. We found that while the US higher education system tends to exacerbate initial socioeconomic inequalities between minority and majority students, there is no difference in the dropout risk among minority and majority students in Norway. Moreover, at the [Bachelor of Arts] BA level, we found that minority students graduate at significantly lower rates than majority students in the United States, even when we control for dropping out. Again, there is no such difference in Norway. This indicates that even though minority students in Norway are also disproportionately from socioeconomically disadvantaged backgrounds, they are encountering fewer obstacles in higher education than minority students in the United States.
The objective of this article is to compare college persistence patterns among minority and majority students in ... Show Full Abstract
- Has increased women's educational attainment led to greater earnings inequality in the United Kingdom?: a multivariate decomposition analysis
It is widely believed that the growth in women's educational attainment and their increasing labour force participation, together with educational homogamy, will lead to greater inequality between households in their earnings. In this article, we use data from the United Kingdom to test that assertion. We use a new method of decomposing the change in household earnings inequality, and this allows us to identify effects associated with women's increasing educational attainment and consequential changes in their propensity to marry, in educational assortative mating and in labour-force participation. We find that changes in women's education and their behavioural consequences account for little if any of the growth in earnings inequality between households in the United Kingdom during the closing decades of the 20th century.
It is widely believed that the growth in women's educational attainment and their increasing labour force participation, ... Show Full Abstract