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Title: Educational expansion, skills diffusion, and a new dimension of the OED triangle
Author: Araki, Satoshi
ISNI:       0000 0004 8503 6079
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2019
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Among wide-ranging functions of education, sociologists have paid close attention to its role in social stratification and mobility. While research has promoted our understanding of the association between origins, education, and destinations (OED triangle), the distinction between educational credentials and skills has been largely overlooked at both individual and societal levels. This paper thus empirically investigates the OED association in consideration of educational specifications (the combination of credentials and skills that individuals possess) and the degree of skills diffusion (the proportion of highly skilled people in a given society), which is a different societal condition from educational expansion that has been quantified by the share of highly educated people. Multilevel logistic regression analyses, using internationally comparable data for approximately 30,000 individuals in 26 OECD countries, reveal that educational credentials play more significant roles, as compared with skills, in forming the OED triangle. This supports the soundness of conventional approach focused on educational qualifications. Nevertheless, whereas credentials are likely to lose their economic returns in societies where the degree of educational expansion is relatively high, skills are not devalued even though their scarcity diminishes due to the higher extent of skills diffusion. Meanwhile, the impact of origins becomes smaller in association with the larger share of highly skilled people as well as that of highly educated people in a nuanced way. This suggests that what we have understood as the consequence of educational expansion is significantly shaped by skills diffusion. It is particularly important to note that, while educational expansion undermines the contribution of origins whilst penalising highly educated people, skills diffusion operates as an equaliser without diminishing rewards for high skills. This implies that skills diffusion is the key to realising meritocracy. I argue that these perspectives markedly contribute to elucidating the nuanced OED triangle and broader social mechanisms.
Supervisor: Kariya, Takehiko Sponsor: Kitano Foundation of Lifelong Integrated Education
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: sociology ; social mobility ; quantitative research ; labour market ; social stratification ; education