Maintaining inequality despite expansion: Evidence of the link between parents' education and qualitative differences in educational attainment


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    The restructuring of the Australian labour market decreased demand for low-skilled workers and increased demand for highly skilled workers and professionals further strengthening the relationship between educational and occupational attainment. To satisfy the demand for highly educated workers, the government reorganised the higher education sector increasing the number of universities and trebling the number of places for domestic undergraduate students. Analysing data from the Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia survey, this paper examines the association between parents' education and the likelihood of graduating from university for six birth cohorts of Australians. Overall, the findings suggest that although the expansion of the higher education sector in Australia provided alternative pathways into university, differences in educational attainment, on both quantitative and qualitative dimensions, persist.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)138-157
    Number of pages20
    JournalHigher Education Quarterly
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - 2015


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