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  • ASSIRELLI Giulia (7)
  • ARGENTIN Gianluca (4)
  • ABBIATI Giovanni Maria (4)
  • SCHIZZEROTTO Antonio (3)
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  • Article (15)
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Gender segregation in higher education (GSHE) is recognized as a key factor to explain the persistence of gender inequalities in the labor market despite the reversal of gender gap in educational attainment. Women are systematically overrepresented in fields of study, such as social sciences and the humanities, which offer relatively poor labor market prospects; at the same time, they are underrepresented in fields that perform above the average, as engineering and ICT. Several explanations for GSHE have been proposed in the literature, but their explanatory power has to be assessed yet. Using a rich longitudinal dataset on a recent cohort of Italian upper secondary school leavers, in this paper we jointly test seven potential mechanisms for GSHE. Our results show that rational choice explanations—such as skill-based explanations and gender differences in career preferences—fail to account for GSHE. On the contrary, expressive motivations related to preferences for school subjects and for specific occupations are found to mediate to a significant extent GSHE. However, our most important result concerns the key role of curricular track choice at upper secondary level which, alone, mediates two third of the gender difference in access to the humanities and social sciences and one third of the gender difference in access to engineering and ICT.

in British Journal of Sociology Publication date 2017-11
ABBIATI Giovanni Maria
ARGENTIN Gianluca
SCHIZZEROTTO Antonio
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Our contribution assesses the role of information barriers for patterns of participation in Higher Education (HE) and the related social inequalities. For this purpose, we developed a large-scale clustered randomised experiment involving over 9,000 high school seniors from 62 Italian schools. We designed a counseling intervention to correct student misperceptions of the profitability of HE, that is, the costs, economic returns and chances of success of investments in different tertiary programs. We employed a longitudinal survey to test whether treated students' educational trajectories evolved differently relative to a control group. We find that, overall, treated students enrolled less often in less remunerative fields of study in favour of postsecondary vocational programmes. Most importantly, this effect varied substantially by parental social class and level of education. The shift towards vocational programmes was mainly due to the offspring of low-educated parents; in contrast, children of tertiary graduates increased their participation in more rewarding university fields. Similarly, the redistribution from weak fields to vocational programmes mainly involved the children of the petty bourgeoisie and the working class, while upper class students invested in more rewarding university fields. We argue that the status-maintenance model proposed by Breen and Goldthorpe can explain these socially differentiated treatment effects. Overall, our results challenge the claim that student misperceptions contribute to horizontal inequalities in access to HE.

in European Sociological Review Publication date 2018-10
TRIVENTI Moris
ASSIRELLI Giulia
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This work presents a direct empirical test of the Breen–Goldthorpe (BG) rational choice model applied to social inequalities in access to university in Italy. In particular, we assess to what extent secondary effects of social background on university enrolment are accounted for by families’ economic resources and relative risk aversion (RRA), among a recent cohort of high school graduates. We also assess the role played by students’ numeric expectations and general perceptions of university costs, the returns to university degrees, and their chances of successfully completing university. Compared with existing research, our contribution is based on a large-scale longitudinal study covering different areas of a new national case, includes a larger set of indicators measuring rational choice mechanisms, and proposes a novel measurement strategy for the indicator of RRA. The core finding is that rational choice mechanisms account for around one fifth of secondary effects of social origin in university enrolment. Family’s economic resources and RRA, the two explanatory mechanisms of the BG model, have a limited explanatory power, whereas the perception of the indirect costs associated to attending university is more important. Overall, high school track plays the most prominent role, thereby indicating that - despite the formal ‘openness’ of the system - a large part of inequalities in access to university in Italy are already produced when tracking first occurs in upper secondary education.

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La mobilité présente une acception première liée au déplacement dans l’espace, avec des allers et retours au sein d’un espace-temps strictement ordonné, balisé et contrôlé, le cas échéant ; mais elle recouvre également une acception métaphorique, renvoyant à la mobilité sociale, à la mobilité professionnelle ou encore à la mobilité d’apprentissage. Ce numéro de Diversité aborde ainsi cette notion, et ses implications, dans le champ éducatif : quels sont les (nouveaux) enjeux actuels des mobilités, nationales et internationales, et leurs impacts dans l’école ? Quels sont les liens entre les inégalités de mobilité et les difficultés d’insertion sociale et professionnelle des jeunes ? Et si les mobilités représentaient autant d’opportunités pour apprendre ?... (Résumé éditeur du dossier)

in Italian Politics Publication date 2016-09
ARGENTIN Gianluca
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In July 2015, the so-called Good School reform was approved. This measure introduces several novelties in the school sector, including an increase in resources. The reform was strongly promoted by Prime Minister Renzi, who has simplified the traditional processes of engagement with the teachers’ unions. The aim is to empower school principals and teachers in a meritocratic framework, to overcome the lack of job stability for teachers by establishing new mechanisms of recruitment, and to open schools to extracurricular activities and vocational experiences. These important innovations, which are needed to improve the existing state of affairs, sound more like announcements rather than concrete commitments. In fact, there is a gap between the communication dimension of the reform, which is very effective, and its actual design, which in many aspects is approximate. There is therefore a real risk that the future implementation of the Good School reform might be less substantive than originally perceived.

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Après la crise de l’Euro, se redessine un mouvement migratoire intra-européen originaire des pays du sud, principalement alimenté par une jeunesse hautement qualifiée. On sait peu de choses sur les déterminants et les profits escomptés de leurs déplacements. Cet article étudie plus particulièrement le cas des italiens, à travers des entretiens menés en 2011 sur un large échantillon représentatif des jeunes diplômés. 4 ans après l’obtention de leur diplôme, 2.4% vivent à l’étranger ; la majeure partie d’entre eux (87%) se sont installés dans un autre pays de l’Union Européenne. Les analyses multivariées montrent que la propension à migrer est plus forte chez les jeunes issus de familles de classes sociales supérieures et d’inscrits dans des disciplines scientifiques ouvertes sur le monde. La migration est également corrélée avec les performances scolaires dans l’enseignement secondaire et supérieur. Comparés aux individus non mobiles, les migrants de la cohorte affichent de meilleures perspectives de carrière, de meilleurs salaires, plus de satisfaction dans leur travail, et moins de risque de chômage. De plus, en moyenne et toute chose étant égale par ailleurs, la Parité en Pouvoir d’Achat (PPP), au travers du salaire horaire net de ces migrants, est 27% plus élevée que pour ceux qui restent en Italie. Cet écart varie considérablement selon les pays de destination, entre 17% et 98%.

in ISA eSymposium for Sociology Publication date 2019-03
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Education is the single most important determinantof life chances. Hence, reducing socioeconomic inequalities in education is a priority in promoting equal opportunities. This article first discusses concerning trends over time in inequalities of educational opportunity in western nations, arguing that evidence indicates that while these inequalities have declined in the post-war decades, they have stagnated for cohorts since the 1980s. Next, I argue that this pattern contradicts the expectations of the two dominant theories in the field: modernisation theory and persistent inequality. Finally, I argue that this empirical pattern is consistent with an institutional explanation which pays more attention than these theories do to the evolution of educational policies, labour market arrangements and welfare protection.

in European Societies Publication date 2018-03
SCHIZZEROTTO Antonio
ASSIRELLI Giulia
ABBIATI Giovanni Maria
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In this article, we propose and test a novel explanation for gender segregation in Higher Education that focuses on the misperceptions of economic returns to fields of study. We frame this explanation within the literature emphasizing the role of gender-stereotypical preferences and occupational plans, and we argue that counselling activities in school can play a crucial role in either reinforcing or countering the weight of these expressive mechanisms relative to more instrumental considerations involving occupational prospects of different fields. In particular, we suggest that the availability of reliable, ready-to-use information on these prospects enhances the probability that students, particularly females, opt for more rewarding fields. To test this argument, we present the results of a field experiment conducted in Italy that confronted high school seniors with detailed information concerning returns to tertiary education and field of study differentials, and we assess how girls and boys reacted to this counselling intervention.

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This article assesses how processes of social closure enhance intergenerational immobility in the regulated professions and thus promote persistence at the top of the occupational hierarchy. We compare four European countries (GB, Germany, Denmark and Sweden) that differ considerably in their degree of professional regulation and in their broader institutional arrangements. We run log-linear and logistic regression models on a cumulative dataset based on three large-scale surveys with detailed and highly comparable information at the level of unit occupations. Our analyses indicate that children of licensed professionals are far more likely to inherit the occupation of their parents and that this stronger micro-class immobility translates into higher chances of persistence in the upper class. These results support social closure theory and confirm the relevance of a micro-class approach for the explanation of social fluidity and of its cross-national variations. Moreover, we find that, when children of professionals do not reproduce the micro-class of their parents, they still display disproportionate chances of persistence in professional employment. Hence, on the one hand, processes of social closure erect barriers between professions and fuel micro-class immobility at the top. On the other hand, the cultural proximity of different professional groups drives intense intergenerational exchanges between them. Our analyses indicate that these micro- and meso-class rigidities work as complementary routes to immobility at the top.

in COGITO, la lettre de la recherche à Sciences Po Publication date 2018-10
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rès de 5% des diplômés italiens du supérieur partent chercher un emploi au-delà des frontières. Si cette proportion peut paraître faible, il n’en reste pas moins que cet exil représente pour l’Italie un important flux de main d’œuvre hautement qualifiée représentant environ 2300 personnes par an. Dans un article publié récemment dans International Migration Review, “You Better Move On” Determinants and Labor Market Outcomes of Graduate Migration from Italy”, deux sociologues de l’Observatoire sociologique du changement de Sciences Po – Carlo Barone et Ettore Recchi, aux côtés de leur collègue Giulia Assirelli de l’Université Catholique du Sacré Coeur de Milan – étudient les raisons de ces départs et retracent le destin professionnel de ces expatriés. (Premier paragraphe)

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