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Frontiers of Education in China

, Volume 8, Issue 2, pp 266–302 | Cite as

Regional Inequality of Higher Education in China and the Role of Unequal Economic Development

  • Frank Bickenbach
  • Wan-Hsin LiuEmail author
Research Article

Abstract

Over the past decade the scale of higher education in China has expanded substantially. Regional development policies have attempted to make use of scale expansion as a tool to reduce inequality of higher education among regions with different development levels by providing poor regions with preferential treatment and support. This paper analyzes a provincial dataset (1997–2008), aiming to provide comprehensive quantitative evidence for the development of inequality of opportunity in higher education across provinces in China over the period of scale expansion. Results show that, for higher education, regional inequality relative to provincial population size clearly decreased over the research period. Accompanying the reduction in overall inequality across provinces, inequality between poor and rich regions actually increased over the same period. However, the increase was realized in favor of the poor region. The empirical results are consistent with the policy orientation of reforming the higher education system and of promoting regional development in China over the past decade.

Keywords

higher education regional inequality China Theil index 

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Copyright information

© Higher Education Press and Springer 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Kiel Institute for the World EconomyKielGermany

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