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The Bologna Process: Consequences for Inequality of Educational Opportunities and Labour Market Outcomes

Project leader: Martin Neugebauer

Project description

The European Higher Education Area has changed markedly in the course of the Bologna Process. 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). One of the priorities of the Bologna Process is the so called ‘social dimension’; the reform aims to widen participation in higher education by encouraging potential students from underrepresented groups, such as socioeconomically disadvantaged persons. To evaluate the reform in regard to this goal, this project studies the effect of the Bologna Process on educational inequalities in higher education. Did the shortening of the first study cycle contribute to a reduction of social inequality? Is the new transition threshold between Bachelor and Master programs socially selective? Furthermore, we examine how the new academic degrees compete on the labour market, especially in comparison to the well-established vocational education and training degrees. While the project focusses on Germany, it may very well be developed into a comparative project, incorporating some of the other 46 countries which participate in the Bologna Process.

Data type: Secondary data analysis, among others Konstanzer Studierendensurvey, KOAB Absolventenstudien, Mikrozensus, DZHW Studienberechtigtenpanel

Cooperation partners: Markus Lörz (Universität Hannover), Heiko Quast (DZHW), Felix Weiss (Aarhus University)

Selected project-related publications:

Bergann, S., Blüthmann, I., Neugebauer, M., & Watermann, R. (in print). Welche Rolle spielen Leistungsselbsteinschätzungen und Erfolgserwartungen für die Absicht, ein Masterstudium aufzunehmen? Zeitschrift für Erziehungswissenschaft.

Neugebauer, M., & Weiss, F. (2018). A transition without tradition: Earnings and unemployment risks of academic versus vocational education after the Bologna Process. Zeitschrift für Soziologie, 47(5): 349–363.

Neugebauer, M., Neumeyer, S., & Alesi, B. (2016). More diversion than inclusion? Social stratification in the Bologna system. Research in Social Stratification and Mobility 45, 51-62.

Neugebauer, M. (2015). The introduction of bachelor degrees and the underrepresentation of students from low social origin in higher education in Germany: A pseudo-panel approach. European Sociological Review 31(5), 591-602.