Reducing Inequalities through Higher Education and Economic Growth. Gender Analysis by Educational Degrees: Bachelor's, Master's and Doctoral Degrees
Keywords:European inequalities, Higher education, Economic growth, Bachelor's degree, Master's degree, Doctoral degree
Inequality is an economic and social problem, and its reduction is a concern in the recent decades. In this context, we decided to analyse the contribution of higher education, according to gender on its three levels (Bachelor`s degree, Master`s degree and Doctoral degree - or equivalent), and economic growth. Higher education and economic growth are factors of competitiveness, important in reducing inequalities in the EU. We applied the panel methodology to some indicators taken from the World Bank website for the period 2013-2018. Data validity narrowed the analysis to 19 European countries divided into two groups according to which we developed two models. Model 1 includes Austria, the Czech Republic, Poland, France, Greece, Slovakia and Slovenia, and Model 2 includes Belgium, Cyprus, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, the Netherlands, Portugal and Sweden. The two groups differ not only in the number of countries but also in the period of analysis. For the first group, the period analysed is 2014-2017, and the applied model is Fixed Effects. For the second one, the analysed period is 2013-2018, and the applied model is Random Effect. The results show the importance of national characteristics in terms of the effect of higher education on reducing inequalities, despite efforts to standardise European practices. The increase in the number of higher education graduates highlight European inequalities, especially in the case of those with Bachelor's and Doctoral degrees. The results regarding the effect of the numerical increase of graduates with a Master's degree on inequalities are ambiguous. Equal access to education for women and men reduces inequalities, but the analysis captures the maintenance of women in a relatively vulnerable position in the European society and economy. Growth does not guarantee the absorption of inequalities because its transposition in the economy and society has antagonistic effects. There is a possibility to reduce inequalities due to higher growth rates, but this is also a possibility to increase them and to emphasize the differences between the rich and poor people and between the developed and developing countries.