Working Paper BETA #2017-02

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Title : Policy Reform and Gender Inequality in French Higher Education: A Two-Generation Comparative Study

Author(s) : Magali Jaoul-Grammare

Abstract : After a long historical process, the principle of coeducation became accepted within the French education system, and since the 1980s the fight against gender inequality has been at the heart of educational reforms. The rationale for equality is not simply moral: gender inequalities slow down human capital accumulation and thereby slow economic growth. The aim of this paper is to determine whether various recent reforms have led to a decrease in gender inequality, measured according to three dimensions: access to prestigious post-baccalaureate courses; access to “male” academic courses; and access to higher diplomas. We use a multinomial logistic regression to compare the Cereq databases Generation 1998 and 2010. Our results show that in spite of a reduction in inequality, access to prestigious courses and access to higher diplomas remain affected by gender inequality. We also show that some “male” academic courses remain highly gender-biased. In this sense, then, we can conclude that human capital accumulation in France is not yet optimal.

Key-words : Access, France, Gender Inequalities, Higher Education, Human Capital Accumulation

JEL Classification : C25, I23, I24, I28