Higher Education Expansion in China: Consequences for Students, Institutions, and Global Competitiveness in Science and Technology
Qiao Wen

About the research


NAEd/Spencer Dissertation Fellowship

Award Year



Teachers College, Columbia University

Primary Discipline

In 1999, the Chinese government initiated a radical and large-scale higher education expansion program. In 1999 alone, approximately 0.5 million more students were admitted into China's regular higher education institutions (HEIs), a 48 percent increase from 1998. Between 1998 and 2001, nationwide enrollment in higher education doubled. This substantially expanded access to HEIs over the three years provides exogenous variation in the probability of college attendance for older and younger cohorts of students. Moreover, there were substantial inter-provincial variations in the number of increased spots after the expansion, which provides another dimension of exogenous variations in the probability of college attendance. Therefore, my dissertation uses the interaction between an individual's birth cohort and the expansion intensity at his birth province as an instrumental variable to estimate the expansion's causal effects on education and earnings. To further decompose the expansion's aggregate earnings effect into the partial-equilibrium returns to college and other general equilibrium effects, I also construct a structural model of changing wage structures, and use multiple repeated cross-sections of data to identify shifts in the aggregate and cohort-specific supply curves of college-educated labor, potential shift in the demand for college-educated labor, and changes in the quality composition of the high school- vs. college-educated labor. Apart from labor market outcomes, my dissertation also examines the expansion's impacts on access to and quality of different types and tiers of HEIs in China.
About Qiao Wen
Qiao Wen is a doctoral candidate in the economics and education program at Teachers College, Columbia University. Her research interests include labor economics and higher education. Particularly, she combines credible evaluations that use experimental or quasi-experimental methods and structural models to examine both the treatment and general equilibrium effects of educational programs and policy changes, and to uncover the mechanisms through which such effects operate. Qiao has published articles in Evaluation Review, Journal of Educational Change, and Modern Management Science. Qiao received her Master's degree in international comparative education from Stanford University, and a Bachelor's degree with double majors in economics and English literature from Peking University in China.

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