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Title: Minority education in transition : ethnicity, poverty and education in rural China
Author: Fenton, Nina
ISNI:       0000 0004 2739 2884
Awarding Body: Oxford University
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2009
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Marketization of the Chinese economy has created wealth and economic opportunities. But it has also created barriers preventing vulnerable gTOUpS from accessing quality education and escaping poverty. This thesis examines the causes of low educational investment by minority ethnic groups in rural China between 1988 and 2002. Information about conditions facing minority groups, including the financing and administration of education, motivates a theoretical model of investment. Characteristics of minority households, such as remote, rural location and low parental education play a role in explaining disadvantage. Low income is both a cause and effect of disadvantage for credit-constrained households. Furthermore, low education has a negative externality on the rewards for education facing other households. Poor 'ethnic capital' and cultural norms regarding enrolment can perpetuate a poverty trap generated by differences in the ways groups form expectations about the behaviour of other group members. The remaining chapters test these hypotheses using rural household data from 1988, 1995 and 2002, and a data-set on academic achievement of children in the final year of compulsory education, collected by the author in a remote minority prefecture. Descriptive regression analysis and decomposition of the differences in educational outcomes between minority and Han groups suggest that low income, relatively high fertility, and low parental education are among the factors driving minority disadvantage. lVIore careful analysis of the effect of income, attempting to control for potential endogeneity, finds the effect to be robust, although differences in income explain far les of the gap in investment than differences in community resources, although it was not possible to control for all potential sources of bias. Higher fertility of minority households may be an important cause of their lower investment. More careful examination of the impacts of fertility finds a significant negative impact of siblings in school and siblings in work, although suitable instrumental variables were not available. Fixed effects regressions, con- trolling for all observed and unobserved household characteristics, revealed that households spend significantly more on more able children and that younger and middle children often lose out. The final chapter reveals that minority students are segregated into lower quality schools, partly because of the high costs of traveling to school from remote locations. This reduces their academic achieve- ment. However, poor achievement of minority students is not fully explained by school choice and observable household characteristics. It is plausible that cul- tural barriers or disengagement from the education system reduce the benefits of education for these children. 2
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available