Social Science Seminar - Five Types of Societies: Illuminating Heterogeneous Patterns of Educational Expansion and Skills Diffusion across 27 Countries
Online Via Zoom

Recent research argues both education and skills are the key to better understanding our society. However, the literature inadequately examines the heterogeneity within/across countries, overlooking nuanced patterns of societal-level educational expansion and skills diffusion. In this paper, I examine the large-scale OECD data for 27 countries, detecting five distinctive societal clusters according to the aggregate levels of education/skills across cohorts: (1) reaching universal higher education with mid-high skills (universal escalator); (2) moving towards universal escalator with mass higher education (mass escalator); (3) improving skills with relatively limited educational expansion (mass elevator); (4) enhancing education without explicit skills development (mid-skilled travelator); and (5) emerging from low levels of education and skills. As to the determinants of these societal types, cross-national heterogeneities rather than commonalities are confirmed even within the same cluster, ranging from secondary/tertiary education to adult learning, work experience, and skills use. Nevertheless, some common patterns are observed in each cluster concerning returns to education/skills. This includes the diminishing economic value of education in “mid-skilled travelator”; intensified premia for education/skills in “mass elevator”; and insignificant changes in returns to education/skills in “universal escalator.” I argue these framework/findings illuminate the characteristics of societies, thus advancing scholarship on education, stratification, and typologies.

Online Via Zoom
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Satoshi Araki is an assistant professor at the Department of Sociology and Social Policy, Lingnan University. He holds his PhD from the University of Oxford, and an MA/BA from the University of Tokyo. Prior to joining Lingnan University, he had worked as an associate professor at the Graduate School of Information and Communication, a consultant of the World Bank/Global Partnership for Education, and a researcher of the Mitsubishi Research Institute. In addition to his academic articles published in the American Sociological Review and the Journal of Happiness Studies among others, he is a lead author of more than 50 policy papers.


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Speakers / Performers:
Prof Satoshi ARAKI
Assist Prof, Dept of Sociology and Social Policy, Lingnan University