Inequalities of access to higher education. The role of policies, institutions and markets

Inequalities of access to higher education. The role of policies, institutions and markets

International Conference
October 8-9, 2015
  • Photo Camille Sromboni, Université Le Havre, IUT, amphi 15 (CC BY-NC-ND)Photo Camille Sromboni, Université Le Havre, IUT, amphi 15 (CC BY-NC-ND)

International Conference

Paris, October 8-9, 2015

Inequalities of Access to Higher Education
The Role of Policies, Institutions and Markets

Registration required


This conference is a follow-up to the research project “Transition to higher education in France: the role of networks, institutions and markets” funded by LIEPP (Laboratory for the Interdisciplinary Evaluation of Public Policies) in 2013-2015. It intends to create a new dialogue between social science researchers working on inequalities of access to higher education and to foster the development of a comparative perspective on the issue, particularly across European countries.

One of the main purposes of the conference is to understand the influence of both entrenched policy choices and new policy developments on access inequalities to higher education. 

A second purpose is to examine more closely how institutional processes and the practices of institutional actors contribute to the reproduction or reduction of inequalities.

The third main focus of the conference concerns the influence of markets in higher education and their effects on access inequalities.

Introduction : Etienne Wasmer co-director of LIEPP and Agnès van Zanten, CNRS Senior Research Professor, Sciences Po/OSC-LIEPP

  • Plenary session

- Agnès van Zanten (CNRS Senior Research Professor, Sciences Po/OSC-LIEPP)
The influence of policies, institutions and markets on access to higher education
Discussion by Patrick Le Galès (CNRS Senior Research Professor, Sciences Po/CEE)

  • Thematic sub-sessions

Institutional barriers to access to higher education (Chair: M. Pitzalis)
- Maria-Ligia Barbosa (Federal University of Rio de Janeiro)
Patrimonial Barriers and Narrow Passages: Institutional factors of unequal access to higher education in Brazil
- Lorenza Villa Lever (Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México)
The asymmetry within university spaces: a mechanism that reinforces social and gender inequalities and causes uneven access to educational opportunities
- Nicolas Charles (University of Bordeaux/Centre Emile Durkheim)
How come the very belief in a pattern for reduction of HE inequalities becomes a reproduction device? Evidence from selection procedures in France, England and Sweden
- Magali Jaoul-Grammare (CNRS-CEREQ)
Did policy reforms really decrease inequalities of access to French higher education? A comparison between Génération 1998 and 2010

Access to higher education and social mobility (Chair: L. Perna)
- Rita Bertozzi (University of Modena and Reggio Emilia)
What happens for students with immigrant background in the transition to higher education in Italy? The role played by migrant background, previous educational choices and individuals’ and families’ investment
- Emmanuelle Chassagne (University of Lausanne)
Is mobility in BTS International Trade a key factor in reducing inequalities of access to Higher Education?
- Nadine Bernhard (Humboldt-Universität)
Europeanization processes: Bologna and Copenhagen as drivers for rising permeability between vocational education and training (VET) and higher education (HE)? A comparison of institutional developments in Germany and France from 1990 to 2012

  • Plenary session

- Rachel Brooks (Professor of Sociology and Head of the Department of Sociology, University of Surrey)
Accessing higher education as a "student-parent": the impact of state policies and institutional practices
- Gaële Goastellec (Associate Professor, University of Lausanne)
Inequalities of access in the light of macro-social characteristics: a European comparison
Discussion by Christine Musselin (CNRS Senior Research Professor and Scientific Director at Sciences Po)

  • Thematic sub-sessions

Affirmative action policies and their effects (Chair: A.-C. Oller)
- Oscar Quintero (Universidad Nacional de Colombia)
New inequalities of access to higher education in Colombia: Policies and affirmative actions in the intersection of gender and ethnicity Silvana Rodrigues de Souza Sato, Tiago Santos Ribeiro & Ione
- Ribeiro Valle (Federal University at Santa Catarina)
Affirmative action in Brazil: a case study of students entering the federal university at Santa Catarina
- Elise Tenret (University Paris Dauphine / IRISSO)
Exclusive universities: use and misuse of affirmative action in Sudanese higher education

The role of institutional and market devices (Chair R. Brooks)
- Antonietta De Feo & Silvia Cataldi (University of Cagliari)
Transition to higher education and reproduction of inequalities. The influence of ‘guidance networks’ between Sardinian secondary schools and higher education institutions
- Alice Olivier (Sciences Po/OSC & INED/iPOPs) & Agnès van Zanten (Sciences Po/OSC-LIEPP)
Status strategies of higher education institutions. A study of open door events in France
- Leïla Frouillou (University Panthéon-Sorbonne /CRIA)
Entering university in the Parisian region: how the "Admission Postbac" system contributes to unequal access to higher education
- Annabelle Allouch (Université de Picardie - CURAPP-ESS), Clemencia González Tugas (EHESS), Germán Fernández Vavrik (LIEPP), Filippo Pirone (LIEPP) & Agnès van Zanten (Sciences Po/OSC-LIEPP)
Widening participation schemes and the introduction of market agents in French secondary education. An empirical research on the Sciences Po's Convention d'éducation prioritaire scheme
- Léonard Moulin (University Paris 7 Diderot /LADYSS) David Flacher (University Paris 13 Sorbonne Paris Cité / CEPN) & Hugo Harari-Kermadec (ENS Cachan / IDHES)
Tuition fees and social segregation: lessons from a natural experiment at the university of Paris 9-Dauphine


  • Plenary session

- Laura Perna (James S. Riepe Professor and Founding Executive Director of the Alliance for Higher Education and Democracy at the University of Pennsylvania)
Improving higher education attainment for all students: lessons from the U.S.
Discussion by Denis Fougère (CNRS Senior Research Professor, Sciences Po/OSC-LIEPP)

  • Thematic sub-sessions

The impact of socio-economic factors and gender on students’ careers in higher education (Chair: M. Börjesson)
- Marie Duru-Bellat (Sciences Po/OSC-IREDU)
Inequalities of access to higher education: the implicit global context (both economic and organizational) does matter
- Julio Carabaña (Universidad Complutense de Madrid)
Discarding explanations to the unchanged rates of social class participation in higher education during the XXIth century in Spain
- Jake Murdoch (University of Burgundy, IREDU), Christine Guégnard (University of Burgundy, IREDU-CEREQ), Christian Imdorf (University of Bern) & Maarten Koomen (University of Bern)
How do different pathways to higher education foster social mobility for males and females: A comparison of different tracks to higher education in France and Switzerland
- Timm Fulge & Ramsey Wise (University of Bremen /BIGSSS)
Two sides of the same coin? Exploring the dynamics of socioeconomic and gender inequality in access to higher education Students’ and institutional perspectives on access to higher education

Students' and institutional perspectives on access to higher education (Chair: G. Goastellec)
- Ida Lidegran (Uppsala University)
The royal road of schooling in Sweden. The relationship between the science programme in upper secondary schools and the elite segment of higher education
- Ylva Bergström (Uppsala University)
Preparing for higher education: the role of extra curricular activities in Swedish upper secondary schools
- Susanne Weber (Philipps-Universität Marburg)
Transitioning into “belonging” to higher education. Trajectories between innovation and reproduction
- Hector Cebolla Boado (UNED) & Yasemin Soysal (University of Essex)
Accessing international education

  • Thematic sub-sessions

Long-term and recent trends in higher education systems (Chair: A. van Zanten)
- Jens Peter Thomsen, (Danish national centre for social research/SFI), Emil Bertilsson, (Uppsala University/SEC), Tobias Dalberg (Uppsala University/SEC), Juha Hedman (University of Turku/RUSE) & Håvard Helland (Oslo and Akershus University College of Applied Science)
Changes in access to higher education in the Nordic countries 1985-2010 – a comparative perspective
- David Marquez (UCL) & Olga Salido (Universidad Complutense de Madrid)
Inequality in Access to University and Economic Cycle: Recent Trends in Spain, 1992-2013
- Daniel Kontowski (University of Warsaw)
Do interdisciplinary studies in Poland (2005-2015) really attract the brightest candidates?

Higher education institutions’ discourses and strategies
(Chair A. Olivier)
- Jelle Mampeay (Ghent University / CHEGG)
A new institutional perspective on inequality of access in higher education: a case study in Flanders
- Smeeta Singh (La Trobe University)
Widening participation: the blame game. An international comparison of policy enactment and discourse in two highly selective universities in England and Australia
- Christelle Manifet (University of Toulouse / CERTOP)
French Universities facing New Students: a modernization of the higher education public service or a fight against the trivialization of University

  • Plenary session

- Mikael Börjesson (Professor of sociology of Education and Culture, Uppsala University, Sweden):
Marketisation, access policies and enrolment patterns in Swedish higher education, 1977 to 2015
- Marco Pitzalis (Associate Professor of Sociology and Director of the Interdepartemental Centre of Educational Research, University of Cagliary, Italy)
The road to North. Restructuring the university field in Italy: institutions, policies and market
Discussion by Carlo Barone (Professor of Sociology at Sciences Po/OSC)

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