[Thesis]. Manchester, UK: The University of Manchester; 2018.
This thesis examines inequality of educational opportunities (IEO) in the transition
to higher education. IEO measures the difference in higher education entry rates across
social groups. The theoretical framework lays on Boudon's decomposition of IEO into
primary and secondary effects of stratification. Furthermore, the theoretical propositions
of Maximally Maintained Inequality (MMI) and Effectively Maintained Inequality (EMI)
were also assessed to gain further understanding of IEO. The longitudinal data for
the empirical analysis was created for a student cohort by linking administrative
records of Chile's national student register, standardised tests and higher education
enrolment. The student cohort was followed through the 12-years of compulsory education
up to the transition to higher education, a year after completing secondary education.
The results from the empirical analysis showed that secondary effects were consistently
predominant over primary effects, driving the overall IEO. On the other hand, controlling
for school characteristics increased the relative importance of secondary effects.
However, primary effects explained a large extent of IEO in the transition to traditional
(most prestigious) universities, by the same token, in the transition to undergraduate
programmes. Differences in parental education levels between secondary education completion
and higher education transitions proved to be consistent with MMI. Likewise, the higher
likelihood of less advantaged students to enrol in vocational colleges or vocational
programmes, and the higher likelihood of advantaged students to enrol in traditional
universities or undergraduate programmes, evidenced support for EMI.
The modelling setting was based on non-linear mediation modelling, accounting for
sample-selection in the student cohort, two-level cross-classification between primary
and secondary schools, and multinomial outcomes for type of institution and programme.
This thesis contributes to the educational attainment literature by finding evidence
that, in emerging economies like Chile, educational inequality persists despite the
sustained expansion of the educational system.