Education, meritocracy and redistribution

M Souto-Otero

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35 Citations (SciVal)
730 Downloads (Pure)


This paper analyses the relationship between education, meritocracy and redistribution. It first questions the meritocratic ideal highlighting how it relates to normative expectations that do not hold fully neither in their logic nor in practice. It then complements the literature on persistent inequalities by focusing on the opportunities for change created by current trends in the economy and in social aspirations. As the meritocratic argument that education is strongly linked to certain rewards in the labour market comes under pressure, increasing social dissatisfaction with education and skills wastage could be expected, as already noted in part of the political economy literature. This literature, however, has tended to conclude from such observations that educational expansion cannot deliver equality. The paper contributes to the debate by focusing on the opportunities created by current trends for the reorganisation of the relationship between education, the economy and society.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)397-413
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Education Policy
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - May 2010


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