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

Xiaogang Wu, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology

Current research on social stratification in reform-era China is focused largely on the change in income inequality and returns to education. Little attention has been paid to how individuals’ access to educational opportunities is affected by the rapid social and economic changes. In this project, we analyzes the micro-data of both 1990 and 2000 population census, matching the school-age children to their parents’ background information within the same household, to address the changes in the effects of family backgrounds (parents’ education and occupation) on the likelihood of school enrollment among children of school-age. Results show that (1) educational opportunities have been expanded greatly in the 1990s, particularly at the compulsory level. Rural-urban enrollment gap decreased at junior high school level but increased at the senior high school level. Family backgrounds started play an even stronger role in get access to educational opportunities for urban children in 2000 than in 1990.

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Presented in Poster Session 3