College is a Rich, Han, Urban, Male Club: Research Notes from a Census Survey of Four Tier One Colleges in China

Journal Article

Published By

China Quarterly

Forthcoming 2013

the china quarterly

One’s opportunity to attend college and earn a degree has increased dramatically in China. However, that does not mean that everyone has an equal opportunity. Historically, there has been well-documented systematic discrimination against minorities, women, and the rural poor. The main question of this paper is whether or not this discrimination has persisted since the recent expansion of China’s tertiary education system. Using a census of incoming freshmen from four tier-one universities, this paper assesses if certain types of students are overrepresented while other types of students are underrepresented. Comparing the shares of students from different socioeconomic and ethnic backgrounds from our primary survey data with government generated census statistics, we conclude that poor, minority, and rural female students are systematically underrepresented. In contrast, rich, Han, urban males are dominant in college.

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