Uncertainty in college admissions and educational attainment differences: evidence from a Chinese province

LI Dai1 WANG Yizhen2

(1.Department of Sociology, Peking University)
(2.Graduate School of Education, Peking University)

【Abstract】In studies of educational attainment, how do we explain the differences among gender, ethnic groups and residence, when academic performance is controlled? This article shows that above the threshold of general universities, differences are driven by uncertainty in admissions. Below the threshold, differences are driven by preferences for different levels of education. Using a complete data set of National College Entrance Examination (NCEE) from one Chinese province, this article illustrates the distribution of uncertainty, different reactions to uncertainty by social groups, and effects on educational attainment. It also discusses the effect of policies on uncertainty, such as the policy of educational expansion.

【Keywords】 uncertainty; match; National College Entrance Examination (NCEE); differences in educational attainment;


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This Article


CN: 11-1100/C

Vol 35, No. 01, Pages 101-125+244

January 2020


Article Outline


  • 1 Research background
  • 2 Data and variables
  • 3 The relationship between socioeconomic variables and uncertainty
  • 4 The Relationship between expansion of education and uncertainty
  • 5 Conclusions and policy suggestions
  • Footnote