Adult Education

Adult education, inequality, and regime change: the case of soviet and post-soviet russia (joint work with Theodor P. Gerber)

Life-course research argues that initial advantages in educational careers are likely to be reproduced and amplified in later educational and labor market opportunities. Using longitudinal methods on linked data from the Gender and Generation and the Education and Employment Surveys for Russia, this study examines whether and how enrollment in distinct types of adult education can compensate for these initial inequalities in socialist and post-socialist Russia. We have found that individuals who were initially educationally disadvantaged but occupationally advantaged are more likely to upgrade. In turn, sidesteppers tend to be initially educationally advantaged, while occupational advantage is less relevant. Nevertheless, the collapse of the Soviet Union reduced opportunities for all groups, particularly for the previously disadvantaged. I conclude that adult education might lessen or exacerbate social inequality depending on the definition of social inequalities. Nevertheless, liberalization reforms have clearly strengthened the exacerbation effect of adult education on social inequality.


Gender inequality and the regime change: adult education and labor market rewards in the Soviet and post-Soviet Russia

This paper studies gender differences in formal adult education – an instrument argued to be essential for labor market adaptation in response to dramatic institutional changes in Russia’s transition to a liberalized market economy. Results suggest that women faced disadvantages in adult-educational opportunities under state socialism, whereas this has been reversed in the post-Soviet Russia being a result of worsening opportunities for men. Moreover, returns to adult education in terms of (re-)employment opportunities vary by gender and over time. Adult education was more effective for men than for women under state socialism. With the Soviet Union collapse, men experienced an enormous drop in adult-educational returns, whereas there was no statistically significant change for women. As a result, men’s returns to adult education went down to the females’ level. Finally, given the emerged female disadvantage in (re-)employment opportunities, adult education seems to be an efficient tool to improve overall labor market chances of women but not to compensate for their relative labor market losses after the Soviet Union collapse.