Dong Hao and his collaborator Fan Xiaoguang have just published a paper in Chinese Sociological Review titled “What enables the “meritocratic power” of a college degree? Changing labor market outcomes of first-generation college graduates in post-revolution China.”
Here is the abstract:
Taking advantage of changes in college admissions and the labor market in post-revolution China, this study sheds light on the institutional conditions under which a college degree may “equalize” the influence of family educational background on labor market outcomes. We examine differences in the first job’s occupational attainment and economic returns between first-generation, second-generation, and non-college graduates. We compare birth cohorts with distinctive experiences, some of whom entered college through political recommendation while others did so through objective examination, and some of whom attained their first job through state assignment while others did so through market matching. We find that a college degree only equalized occupational attainment in cohort 1980–1992, who experienced expanded test-based admissions and a developed labor market. Within-occupation economic returns were equalized in cohort 1966–1979, who experienced test-based admissions and yet an underdeveloped labor market, but appeared to be unequal again in cohort 1980–1992, echoing rising social inequality.
Congratulations Dong Hao and Fan Xiaoguang!