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Higher Education

, Volume 62, Issue 2, pp 213–229 | Cite as

China’s higher education expansion and the task of economic revitalization

  • Xiaoyan WangEmail author
  • Jian Liu
Article

Abstract

This paper centers on the expansion from elite to mass higher education in China and its effects on China’s economic development. These effects are twofold, including both the immediate influence of expanded enrollment in higher education on China’s economy, and the human capital accumulation for the long term. The paper first provides a description of key changes in the Chinese higher education system during this radical expansion. This is followed by an analysis of the relation between higher education expansion and economic development both in terms of short and long term goals, using the Keynesian economic principle and human capital theory. The analysis found that it is premature to conclude whether the expansion policy has revitalized the economy or not in the short term. China is achieving its long term goal of accumulating human capital; however, the mounting unemployment of postsecondary graduates is jeopardizing students’ private returns.

Keywords

Higher education China Expansion Economic development 

Notes

Acknowledgments

We would like to express our deep appreciation to Professor Daniel Lang, Professor Ruth Hayhoe, and Professor Simon Marginson for their support.

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© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.CHTL, 9 Baptist University Road, Hong Kong Baptist UniversityKowloon TongHong Kong
  2. 2.OISE/University of TorontoTorontoCanada

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