School Expansion, Educational Inequality, and Social Mobility in Reforming China

Maocan Guo, Harvard University

The empirical puzzle I examine is why the triangle associations among social origin, educational attainment and social destination present various patterns in different societies under educational expansion. By using a variety of cross-sectional and panel survey data from reforming China, I illustrate that class mobility strategies, structural and institutional features in the educational system and the sociopolitical institutional context are the most important dimensions to understand how educational expansion affects education-based social stratification and inequality. My analyses demonstrate that with China’s particular structural and institutional features under educational expansion, we observe increasing educational inequality, declining social mobility (and increasing labor market inequality) in the last three decades.

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Presented in Poster Session 5: Economy, Labor Force, Education and Inequality