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Elite Education and Social Capital: The Case of South Korea

Sunhwa Lee and Mary C. Brinton
Sociology of Education
Vol. 69, No. 3 (Jul., 1996), pp. 177-192
DOI: 10.2307/2112728
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2112728
Page Count: 16
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Elite Education and Social Capital: The Case of South Korea
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Abstract

Graduation from an elite university bestows advantages in the labor market, but it is not known whether these advantages accrue from a university's prestige or from graduates' social background, ability, or different types of social capital. This study used original data on male university graduates in South Korea to explore the relationships among university prestige, human capital, social background, and students' access to social capital through their university (institutional social capital) and their families and friends (private social capital). The study found that private social capital does not tend to lead to the best jobs. Rather, the probability of being matched with a top employer is higher through direct application and is enhanced at prestigious universities through the schools' provision of introductions to employers. The close relationships among family background, human capital, and university prestige mean that a highly select group of South Korean men acquire the best jobs.

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