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Economic Transition, School Expansion, and Educational Inequality in China, 1990-2000

Publication Abstract

Download PDF versionWu, Xiaogang. 2007. "Economic Transition, School Expansion, and Educational Inequality in China, 1990-2000." PSC Research Report No. 07-627. September 2007.

This paper examines the trend in educational stratification during China’s economic reforms in the 1990s. Based on the sample data of population censuses in 1990 and 2000, the school-age children are matched to their parents’ background information within the same households and the effects of family background on children’s school enrollment and continuation are investigated. Results show that, despite the substantial expansion of educational opportunities in the decade, family backgrounds continue to play an important role in determining school enrollment status and school transitions. Over the decade, children of rural hukou status have become even more disadvantaged compared to their urban counterparts and the effect of father’s socioeconomic status on school enrollment has been enhanced. Despite the fact that children of rural hukou status have gained relatively more opportunities at junior high school level as a result of saturation in 9-year compulsory education, rural-urban gap in the likelihood of transition to senior high school level has been enlarged and the effect of father’s socioeconomic status increased, even after controlling for the regional variations in economic development.

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