Inequality of opportunity in China's educational outcomes

Jane Golley, Kong Sherry Tao

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


    This paper investigates trends in educational inequality in China, focusing on the contribution of 'inequality of opportunity' to these trends. Utilising the China Family Panel Studies survey for 2010 and 2012, we measure the inequality in individual educational outcomes (measured in years of schooling) in aggregate and for each of ten birth cohorts. We run regressions to identify the key determinants of these outcomes, all of which can be classified as 'circumstances' that lie beyond the control of each individual, and which reveal important variations in the magnitude and significance of key determinants across birth cohorts. The results are then used to calculate the share of 'inequality of opportunity' in overall educational inequality. The lack of equal opportunity for Chinese people with regard to their educational outcomes is shown to stem primarily from the divisive hukou system, with further significant contributions from father's education, birth cohort, province, parents' Communist Party membership, gender, family size and ethnicity, in that order.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)-
    JournalChina Economic Review
    Publication statusPublished - 2016


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