Social Inequality in Educational Careers of Young Adults
The project examined educational inequality after secondary school in early adulthood in Germany, Sweden and the United States. It addressed the research question on the role of inequality in 'late' postsecondary schooling. In a comparative analysis of existing life history data sets the influence of the country specific institutional setting of prolonged education and chances to return to education were studied, as well as the resulting differences in educational career patterns of youth from different social origin. The project has been completed in summer 2011. The results show that social origin influences are can be found even among young adults who are already established in the labor force. In comparative perspective, the project could show that this late inequality effect is even more present in countries with higher more second-chance opportunities for higher education. Further, it was found that a large share of the students re-enrolling were actually not re-enrolling but delaying their entry into higher education. For both delay and re-entry differences in school, performance differences by social origin are a important mechanism for inequality in late educational decisions.