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A Re-examination of the Relationship between Inequality in Education Opportunities and Income Gap:Based on the Perspective of Decomposition of Education Inequality

November 23, 2018
​Daqian Shi, Zhecheng Zhang

Abstract: The inconsistent relationship between education inequality and income inequality in the past litera⁃ture is mainly due to the neglect of structural factors of educational inequality. This paper decomposes educational inequality into unequal educational opportunities and unequal educational efforts. The relationship between educational inequality and income disparity should depend on the larger part of the above structural factors. Based on this hypothesis, this paper uses environment-effort dichotomy to deconstructs educational inequality at the micro level, thus to measuring the inequality of educational opportunities and unequal educational efforts. Besides that, the paper studies the impact of educational inequality and unequal educational efforts on income disparity. This paper concludes that the unequal educational opportunities significantly expand the income gap, while the unequal educational effort has significantly narrowed the income gap. The impact of overall education inequality on the income gap is no longer obvious due to the positive and negative effects of educational inequality and unequal educational efforts.


Key words: unequal educational opportunities; unequal educational efforts; income gap