Quarterly Journal of Political Science > Vol 8 > Issue 3

Equality of Educational Opportunity and Attitudes toward Income Inequality: Evidence from China

Xiaobo Lü, Bush School of Government and Public Service, Texas A'M University, USA, xlu@bushschool.tamu.edu
Suggested Citation
Xiaobo Lü (2013), "Equality of Educational Opportunity and Attitudes toward Income Inequality: Evidence from China", Quarterly Journal of Political Science: Vol. 8: No. 3, pp 271-303. http://dx.doi.org/10.1561/100.00012043

Publication Date: 27 Jun 2013
© 2013 X. Lü
Comparative political economy


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In this article:
1. The Argument 
2. Equal Opportunity and Income Inequality: Evidence from Survey Experiments 
3. Evaluating the Effects of Objective Equal Opportunity 
4. Conclusion 


A substantial literature in comparative politics and political economy emphasizes the importance of income inequality in redistributive policies and regime transition. I argue that individual perceptions of equal opportunity affect the degree of resentment toward income inequality. Governments can influence perceptions of equal opportunity through the distribution of public goods and services, such as educational opportunity. Employing various empirical strategies, I systematically estimate both the subjective and objective effects of unequal educational opportunity on attitudes toward income inequality. The first set of evidence is based on two survey experiments conducted in China in 2009 and 2012, respectively; the second set on a 2004 China national survey using a quasi-regression discontinuity design as well as propensity score matching analysis. These complementary analyses offer consistent evidence that inequality of educational opportunity increases resentment toward income inequality.