Inequality of educational opportunity and welfare regimes

Pia Blossfeld
OSC Scientific Seminar - Friday 6 november 2015
  • « Escipamphi » par ESCIP — Sous licence GFDL via Wikimedia Commons « Escipamphi » par ESCIP — Sous licence GFDL via Wikimedia Commons

 Friday 6 november 2015, 11h30 - 13h
Annick Percheron room, 98 rue de l'Université, Paris 7e
Free admission subject to availability

All modern countries experienced an enormous expansion of their educational systems in the last decades. However, there have been huge differences among these societies in terms of inequalities of educational opportunities. In this presentation, I examine how different ideas of social equality in different welfare regimes influence the effect of parental education on children’s educational attainment and its change over time.
Using PIAAC data, I compare the patterns in six welfare regimes: the liberal, the conservative, the social-democratic, the Mediterranean, the Eastern European, and the East Asian welfare regime.
My empirical results show that different ideas about social equality have a strong impact not only on the patterns of educational attainment in the 1960s and the educational expansion trajectories during the last decades, but also on the change in the strength of the effect of parental education on children’s educational opportunities in different welfare regimes. Particularly impressive is the development in the East Asian welfare states, which were latecomers in the 1960s and have become forerunners in the process of educational expansion today, providing much more equal educational opportunities for children from disadvantaged social background than all other welfare states in Europe and the United States.

Pia Blossfeld is a D.Phil. student in Nuffield College at the University of Oxford, and a visiting student in the OSC. Her work focuses on educational, social stratification, and life course research, as well as sociological methods.