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Abstract

This article reviews research on the coevolution of educational expansion and educational inequality within China, Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan in the post–World War II period. These societies are often lauded for their spectacular economic growth, widespread commitment to investing in education, and intense competition for academic success. This review first considers organizational sorting and horizontal stratification within the educational system, followed by returns to education in the labor market and then the inequality of educational opportunity, with special attention to the nominal versus positional approaches to measuring education. This combination of regional focus and substantive diversity offers the leverage of an approximately matched comparison. The findings demonstrate that there are significant heterogeneities in the coevolution of educational expansion and inequality among these societies with strong cultural and political ties. The findings also suggest complex causal and contingent relationships among educational expansion, educational stratification, returns to education, and inequality of opportunity.

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2019-07-30
2024-06-14
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