English title: Towards Understanding of Higher Education as a Public Good: Inequalities in Access to Higher Education and Trust in a Comparative Perspective

Author(s): Pepka Boyadjieva - Petya Ilieva-Trichkova -

Language: English

Type: Journal article

Year: 2014


The paper focuses on how higher education (HE) influences the construction of social trust and how this contribution is hampered by educational inequalities. Social trust is defined as one of the most important subjective aspects of people’s well-being. The analysis refers to impersonal and institutional trust, measured with indicators such as generalized trust, generalized fairness, trust in parliament, and trust in the legal system. The study covers 22 European countries and explores the problem at macro level. It draws on data from the European Social Survey (2006–2010), applying descriptive statistics, correlations and regressions for the analysis of data. Our findings clearly show that, at the aggregate level, HE influences positively the degrees of both impersonal and institutional trust. At the centre of our analysis are educational inequalities, which are regarded as an indicator of well-being and of the defining of HE as a public good. We found evidence of moderate to strong negative correlations between inequalities in access to HE and trust among HE graduates. The paper argues that the extent to which HE is accomplished as a public good depends on its accessibility and contribution to the national well-being. We conclude that there is a need for elaboration of a full theoretical understanding of HE as a public good.

Volume: 46

Issue: 0

From page no: 18

To page no: 36

Refereed: Yes


Journal: Sotsiologicheski Problemi

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