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The role of higher education stratification in the reproduction of social inequality in the labour market. A comparative study of recent European graduates

Triventi, Moris (2011): The role of higher education stratification in the reproduction of social inequality in the labour market. A comparative study of recent European graduates.

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Abstract

This paper analyses the role of institutional stratification within higher education (course length, fields of study and institutional quality) in mediating the relationship between social origin and labour market outcomes (wage and occupational status) in a comparative perspective. In the first part, we develop our theoretical framework, relying on sociological and economic theories and knowledge on countries’ institutional profiles. In the second part, we use data from the 2005 REFLEX survey on European graduates (2000) from 4 countries (Germany, Norway, Italy, and Spain). Results from binomial logistic regression models and the Karlson-Holm-Breen decomposition method indicate that those with tertiary educated parents have higher probabilities of entering in a highly rewarded occupation and this ‘effect’ varies according to level higher education expansion and strength of the institutional mechanisms which connect tertiary education with labour market. Furthermore, higher education stratification contributes to the reproduction on inequality but with a different importance according to the institutional context.

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