The Introduction of Bachelor Degrees and the Under-Representation of Students from Low Social Origin in Higher Education in Germany: A Pseudo-Panel Approach
The Paper has been accepted and published online (June 24, 2015) in the European Sociological Review (2015), doi: 10.1093/esr/jcv061.
Posted: 2 Nov 2014 Last revised: 14 Aug 2015
Date Written: September 1, 2014
In the course of the Bologna Process, European higher education systems have experienced major reforms. In Germany as in several other countries, the main novelty was a reduction of the length of study to get a first level degree (Bachelor), together with the introduction of a second level degree (Master’s). One of the priorities of the Bologna Process is the so called ‘social dimension’, meaning that participation in higher education should be widened by fostering the potential of students from underrepresented groups, such as those from socioeconomically disadvantaged backgrounds. To evaluate this reform goal, this paper tests whether the shortening of the length of study to get a first degree countervails the underrepresentation. I use variation introduced by the non-uniform adaption of the new degree structure to identify the effect. Using repeated cross-sectional student survey data to generate panel data at the level of study courses, fixed-effects estimators indicate that the shortening has no (positive) effect on the share of students from low social origins.
Keywords: Higher Education, Bologna Process, Social Inequality
JEL Classification: I20, I21, I28, C23
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation