Center for Social Research and Data Archives

The SSJDA Seminar

The SSJDA Seminar [March 3rd (Thursday), 2022] "The role of institutional features for inequalities in study abroad participation. Evidence from Japan″

Date & Time
March 3rd (Thur), 2022, 17:00-18:00
The role of institutional features for inequalities in study abroad participation. Evidence from Japan
Steve R. Entrich(University of Potsdam)
Akiyoshi Yonezawa (Tohoku University) Kenji Ishida(The University of Tokyo)
Studying abroad (SA) is considered one of the most efficient ways to acquire 'transnational human capital' (THC), i.e. transversal, intercultural competences and foreign language skills, and may lead to status advantages in the form of higher labor market outcomes. However, research overwhelmingly reports socioeconomic inequality in uptake of SA and explained this outcome through status-specific choices of students. Less is known about the role of institutional contextual factors (universities) and their concrete SA support structures, for social selectivity in SA choice. To address this issue, this article employs a multi-level approach to simultaneously examine the choice of SA at the institutional and individual level, using data from the 2017 Japan Campus Life Data (N=18,510 students nested in 69 universities across Japan). In the last two decades the Japanese ministry of education (MEXT) issued several major programs (e.g. Go Global Japan or Top Global University projects) to push the internationalization of higher education and foster global human resources. One major aspect of these programs consequently targeted the increase in the number of domestic students studying abroad. But it remains unclear whether these policies benefit all students, help reduce the socioeconomic gap in SA participation, or even strengthen this gap. Drawing on life course theory/rational action/social reproduction theories, the following question is addressed: Is social inequality in access to SA reduced through the implementation of programs promoting SA or are higher SES students still significantly more likely to study abroad than lower SES students? Results from multilevel mixed effects regression models show that SES effects on individual's SA choice are significantly reduced when we nest individuals in universities, and further reduced when controlling for institutional factors at the university level. Especially if universities take part in major national programs to promote study abroad, the effects of the students' socioeconomic background on their likelihood to study broad is shrinking. Findings indicate that the students' likelihood for SA uptake largely depends upon the university's active promotion of (outward) international student mobility and the acquisition of governmental funds to do so.
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