Regional Inequality of Higher Education Resources in China

Abstract

With the expansion of the higher education system in China since the late 1990s, questions on the distribution of higher education opportunities and resources have attracted increasing attention from academics, policymakers, and the general public. While there have been an increasing studies on the development of higher education opportunity equality in China, quantitative, systematic research on the distribution of higher education resources across China is still rather limited. This paper aims at filling this gap. It provides quantitative and comprehensive evidence on the development of the distribution of higher education resources across Chinese provinces. The analysis is based on a provincial panel dataset and uses a generalized Theil index to measure inequality. Results show that higher education resources have been far from equally provided in relation to the size of provincial student populations in China. The unequal distribution has become even more pronounced over the past decade. In other words, even if high school students have an increasingly equal access to higher education in China (Bickenbach & Liu, 2013b), the increasingly unequal distribution of higher education resources makes it difficult for university students to equally benefit from higher education.

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Acknowledgements

We thank the two anonymous reviewers and Frank Bickenbach for their useful comments on the previous version of the paper. We would also like to thank participants of the KIT Workshop on Economics and Finance on June 30, 2016 for their valuable comments and suggestions.

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Correspondence to Wan-Hsin Liu.

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Liu, W., Ma, R. Regional Inequality of Higher Education Resources in China. Front Educ China 13, 119–151 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11516-018-0005-1

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Keywords

  • education resources
  • China
  • higher education
  • regional inequality
  • Theil index