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Participation in Formal Adult Education and its Impact on Inequality over the Life Course in Contemporary Russia

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This paper examines whether and to which extent tertiary and non-tertiary formal adult education in Russia can (1) compensate for initial inequalities in the individual educational attainment process, and (2) contribute to more economic and social equity over the life course. In particular, we study how the interplay between initial educational level and current labour market position influences patterns of participation in and returns to these adult education types. Utilizing the Russia Longitudinal Monitoring Survey (RLMS-HSE) and advanced methods of longitudinal research, we found lower educated individuals to be more likely to participate in adult education, yet the ‘quality’ (level) of adult education is associated with the labour market position of participants and their socio-economic background. Regarding returns, our findings are mixed and suggest that initially (educationally) advantaged individuals benefit from tertiary adult education in terms of earnings, while initially (educationally) disadvantaged benefit in terms of job prestige. In turn, non-tertiary adult education, if any, only worse labor market positions of those unemployed while studying. A major conclusion of our study is that adult education has only limited potential to reduce social inequalities over the life course in Russia.
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Keywords: RLMS-HSE; Russia; formal adult education; life course; longitudinal research; social inequalities

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: April 1, 2016

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  • World Studies in Education is a bi-annual, refereed, international journal offering a global overview of significant international and comparative education research. Its focus is on educational reforms and policy affecting institutions in the global economy.
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