Education and Inequality

Stephen Machin

in The Oxford Handbook of Economic Inequality

Published in print February 2011 | ISBN: 9780199606061
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Economics

Education and Inequality

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  • Economics
  • Labour and Demographic Economics
  • Health, Education, and Welfare



This article focuses on education acquisition and inequality, the impact of education on economic and social outcomes and on how changes in education, together with the pattern of demand for skills, affect earnings and income distributions. Section 2 considers research that looks at connections between education acquisition and inequality at different stages of the life cycle. Section 3 discusses the economic impact of education. Section 4 considers how changes in education have altered the distribution of wages and employment and affected labour market inequality. This has become a very large research area, with evidence from many settings showing that education matters more for labour market outcomes than it did in the past. Section 5 offers some conclusions about research in this area, briefly linking it to contemporary discussions about education policy.

Keywords: education; social outcomes; economic impact; wage distribution; employment; labour market inequality; education policy

Article.  9088 words. 

Subjects: Economics ; Labour and Demographic Economics ; Health, Education, and Welfare

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