Persistent Inequality: Changing Educational Attainment In Thirteen Countries

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Avalon Publishing, Aug 19, 1993 - Social Science - 396 pages
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This book encompasses a systematic, comparative study of change in educational stratification in thirteen industrialized countries, exploring which societal conditions help reduce existing inequalities in educational opportunity. The contributors show that in most industrialized countries inequalities in educational opportunity among students from different social strata have been remarkably stable since the early twentieth century. Only in Sweden and the Netherlands has there been a reduction in educational inequalities. The improvements are attributed to aggressive social welfare policies that have equalized living conditions and overall life opportunities in the two countries. Interestingly, the social policies of former socialist states did not produce similar advances - a finding consistent with assertions that under socialism the bureaucratic elites were as effective in protecting the interests of their own children as were elites in many capitalist societies. In contrast to the persistence of socio-economic inequalities in educational opportunity, the gender gap in education has narrowed in all thirteen countries. In fact, in some countries women now attain higher mean levels of education than men. The book concludes with an integrative methodological chapter that introduces new methods of dealing with observed and unobserved sources of heterogeneity in models of educational attainment. The highly structured analyses of educational systems in the thirteen countries allow illuminating comparisons without sacrificing the specialized knowledge required to understand the particularities of each system.

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