Scandinavian Working Papers in Economics

EIJS Working Paper Series,
Stockholm School of Economics, The European Institute of Japanese Studies

No 95: Who Goes to College? Features of Institutional Tracking in Japanese Higher Education

Hiroshi Ono ()
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Hiroshi Ono: Texas A&M University, Postal: Department of Sociology, 416 Academic Building, College Station, TX 77843-4351, USA

Abstract: Features of institutional tracking play a key role in shaping an individual fs access to and advancement through higher education in Japan. This paper brings institutional tracking features to the foreground and examines the process by which individuals advance from middle school to high school, and ultimately to college. The analysis also accounts for social origin effects, thereby allowing us to re-examine claims of meritocracy in conjunction with institutional tracking effects. I find support for a tournament-like mobility of individuals in the system of higher education in Japan, where those who move down don ft move up again. My research also finds strong evidence that social origin matters, and that institutional tracking affects men and women in different ways.

Keywords: institutional tracking; tournament mobility; higher education

JEL-codes: I20; J16; J24; N35

43 pages, First version: June 1, 2000. Revised: April 20, 2001.

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