Economic consequences of horizontal stratification in postsecondary education: evidence from urban China
Drawing on nationwide representative data, we study the patterns of horizontal stratification of higher education in contemporary urban Chinese society, examining how college major, location, and ranking affect college graduates’ occupational income and the likelihood of assuming a managerial position. The results suggest that (1) college major differentiates graduates’ occupational income, with STEM and professional majors having significant economic advantages. (2) College ranking is significantly correlated with the likelihood of assuming a managerial position, implying that college ranking is an effective signal of prestige to employers in urban China. (3) A “Big City Effect” is detected as college location is significantly associated with salary levels after controlling for job location. This study adds an Eastern case to the literature on education stratification. Theoretical implications of empirical findings are also discussed
KeywordsHorizontal stratification College major College location College ranking Big City Effect
- Allison, P. D. (2001). Missing data. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.Google Scholar
- Becker, G. S. (1964). Human capital: A theoretical and empirical analysis, with special reference to education. New York City, NY: Columbia University Press.Google Scholar
- Busemeyer, M., & Trampusch, C. (2012). The comparative political economy of collective skill formation. In M. R. Busemeyer & C. Trampusch (Eds.), The political economy of collective skill formation (pp. 3–14). New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
- Fang, A., Jiang, W., Wang, H., & Du, X. (2003). A comparative study on the learning time management between learning disabilities and learning paragons. Elementary and Secondary Education in Foreign Countries, 4, 45–49. (in Chinese).Google Scholar
- Hao, W., Long, Z., & Zhang, J. (2011). The history of higher education in the People‘s Republic of China. Beijing: New World Press. (in Chinese).Google Scholar
- Hu, A., & Hibel, J. (2014). Increasing heterogeneity in the economic returns to higher education in urban China. Social Science Journal. doi:10.1016/j.soscij.2013.09.002.
- Li, C., & Wang, B. (2009). Research of the occupational status among college graduates. http://e-sociology.cass.cn/pub/shxw/shgz/shgz53/P020090120330059680984.pdf retrieved on 2014-9-9 (in Chinese).
- Mincer, J. (1974). Schooling, experience, and earnings. New York City, NY: Columbia University Press.Google Scholar
- Mok, K.-H., & Ngok, K. L. (2008). One country, diverse systems: politics of educational decentralization and challenges for regulatory state in Post-Mao China. China Review, 8, 169–199.Google Scholar
- Mortensen, D. T., & Pissarides, C. A. (1999). New developments in models of search in the labor market. In O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (Eds.), Handbook of labor economics (Vol. 3, pp. 2567–2627). Amsterdam: North Holland.Google Scholar
- Nicholson, S. (2008). Medical career choices and rates of return. In F. A. Sloan & H. Kasper (Eds.), Incentives and choice in health care (pp. 195–226). Cambridge: MIT Press.Google Scholar
- Pascarella, E. T., & Terenzini, P. T. (2005). How college affects students revisited: A third decade of research. New York City, NY: Jossey Bass.Google Scholar
- UNESCO. (2012). UIS Statistics in Brief. Retrieved at http://stats.uis.unesco.org/unesco/TableViewer/document.aspx?ReportId=121&IF_Language=eng&BR_Country=1560.
- Wu, H., & Luo, Y. (2012). Vertical distribution structure of colleges and universities in China: The phenomenon of assembling in political centers. Modern Education Management (Chinese), 5, 11–16. (in Chinese).Google Scholar
- Yang, H., & Bai, X. (2010). Comparison of top-down attentional control between students with high abilities and students with learning difficulties. Journal of Tianjin Normal University (Social Science), 4, 77–80. (in Chinese).Google Scholar
- Zhou, J., & Li, Y. (2008). Status analysis and countermeasures study on fund input of higher vocational education. Vocational and Technical Education, 29, 24–26. (in Chinese).Google Scholar
- Zhou, H., & Zhao, H. (2012). Revisiting the situation of firms’ involvement in occupational education. Enterprise Economy, 12, 73–75 (in Chinese).Google Scholar