Education and Labour Markets

… a non-core topic in Socioeconomic and Political Context and Atlas105

Topic description

This topic explores how inequality generates barriers to education and consequently job prospects. It studies “equality of opportunity” as a policy goal and concept and examines how globalization is influencing the opportunities for low-skilled workers to develop their human capital in both developing and advanced economies.

Topic learning outcome

Upon completing this topic the student will be able to analyze, interpret and evaluate policy choices designed to promote equality of opportunity, improve the performance of labour markets and improve the economic outcomes of less-skilled workers.

Core concepts associated with this topic
Open access readings for 8 hours of preparation

The Atlas pages for the concept entries noted above.


Recommended readings in MPP and MPA courses

Toronto PPG1005 The Social Context of Policy-Making

Corak, Miles. (2009) “Chasing the Same Dream, Climbing Different Ladders: Economic Mobility in Canada and the United States.” Washington, DC: Pew Charitable Trusts

Kozol, Jonathan. (2005) Chapter 7: Excluding Beauty The Shame of the Nation: The Restoration of Apartheid Schooling in America. New York: Crown Publications. pp. 161-186.

Zuberi, Dan. (2006) Chapter 7 “Public Investment and City-Level Differences” in Differences That Matter: Social Policy and the Working Poor in the United States and Canada. Ithaca and London: Cornell University Press. pp. 113-137

Goffman, Alice. (2009) “On the Run: Wanted Men in a Philadelphia Ghetto.” American Sociological Review 74(3): 339-357.

Frenette, Marc. (2007) “Why are youth from lower-income families less likely to attend university? Evidence from academic abilities, parental influences, and financial constraints.” Analytical Studies Branch Research Paper Series, Statistics Canada, Ottawa.

Frenette, Marc. (2005) “Is post-secondary access more equitable in Canada or the United States?” Analytical Studies Branch Research Paper Series, Statistics Canada, Ottawa.

Finnie, Ross, Richard Mueller, Arthur Sweetman, And Alex Usher, eds. (2008) Who Goes? Who Stays? What Matters? Accessing and Persisting in Post-Secondary Education in Canada Montreal and Kingston: McGill-Queen’s University Press, Queen’s Policy Studies Series

Boudarbat, Brahim & Lemieux, Thomas & Riddell, W. Craig (2010) “The Evolution of the Returns to Human Capital in Canada, 1980-2005,” CLSRN Working Papers, UBC Department of Economics, revised 30 Jan.

McKinsey Global Institute (2012) An economy that works: Job creation and America’s future Executive summary and Chapter 4.

Blank, Rebecca. (2009) “Economic Change and the Structure of Opportunity for Less Skilled Workers.” Focus 26(2).

MacLeod, Jay. (2009) Ain’t No Makin’ It: Aspirations and Attainment in a Low-Income Neighborhood. Boulder, CO: Westview Press.

McLaran, Peter. (1980) “Chapter 1 The Frontiers of Despair” in Cries from the Corridor: The New Suburban Ghettos Toronto: Methuen Press pp. 2-64.

Concept comprehension questions

AQ105.03.01. Among statements a-d pertaining to the term XXX choose one that is invalid or choose e if all are reasonably valid.





e. All of a-d are reasonably valid statements.

Page created by: Ian Clark, last modified on 12 March 2017.

Image: University of Exeter, at, accessed 12 March 2017.