The purpose of this article is to explore the relationship between dropout from higher education and social class origin. It focuses on the following three points; 1) to investigate the pattern of association between class origin and the risk of dropout; 2) to compare the impact of class origin on dropout among several educational transition stages; 3) to examine the trends in the effect of class origin on dropout from higher education.
In order to conduct the empirical analysis, large-scale datasets which were merged from various Japanese national representative survey datasets, such as the Social Stratification and Mobility surveys (SSM), Japanese General Social Surveys (JGSS), and Japanese Life-course Panel Surveys (JLPS) are used. The risk of dropout is estimated using binary logit models, rare-event logit models, and transition models.
Results show that the risk of dropout from higher education is affected by class origin. Non-manual and agricultural classes are less likely to drop out, while manual and self-employed classes are more likely to drop out from higher education. As for dropout from secondary education, the same pattern of inequality of the risk of dropout among classes is observed. The degree of impact of class origin on dropout is smaller than that on entering into next stage of education. There are no trends in the effects of class origin on dropout. This finding supports Maximum Maintained Inequality (MMI) hypothesis because educational expansion did not affect the pattern of educational inequality including dropping out stage.
In conclusion, stable, huge inequality of dropout among social classes is found. Class origin is crucial factor for predicting the risk of dropout from higher education, also a long time ago even now.