Changes in Educational Inequality in Cross-National Perspective

  • Pia N. Blossfeld
  • Gwendolin J. Blossfeld
  • Hans-Peter Blossfeld
Part of the Handbooks of Sociology and Social Research book series (HSSR)


In the process of educational expansion and reforms, the old sharp divisions between academic and vocational/technical tracks in the secondary school systems of modern societies have greatly diminished and the proportion of young people who have completed at least upper secondary education has risen impressively. Also, the enrollment in higher education has quickly grown in all modern countries and turned their tertiary educational systems into institutions of mass education. Using truly comparative data from the PIAAC study, we analyze how the educational attainment of men and women from families with different educational backgrounds has changed over time in 22 modern societies. The results show that there are great cross-national differences in the development of inequality of educational opportunity.


Educational expansion Educational opportunities Gender inequalities Cross-national comparison Social inequality Life course research 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Pia N. Blossfeld
    • 1
  • Gwendolin J. Blossfeld
    • 1
  • Hans-Peter Blossfeld
    • 2
  1. 1.Nuffield CollegeUniversity of OxfordOxfordUK
  2. 2.European University Institute FlorenceFlorenceItaly

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