Access to Shadow Education

A Rational Choice? Who Decides to Invest in Shadow Education?


This chapter analyzes the Access dimension outlined in the Shadow-Education-Inequality-Impact (SEII) Frame, specifically addressing the question who is involved in the decision for shadow education and how that might affect the perceived formation of social inequality. In Japan, families need to decide whether or not an investment in shadow education is necessary to increase the chances of successfully entering a chosen high school or university. Based on sociological Rational Choice Theory, thus far, socioeconomic background and parents’ educational aspirations, in conjunction with students’ academic achievement, have been deemed influential to such decisions in Japan. The agency of the student is rarely even considered. Basing my calculations on data of the 2011 Hyōgo High School Students (HHSS) survey, the following main findings are presented:
  1. (1)

    students’ influence on decision-making concerning shadow education increases with higher age;

  2. (2)

    in high school, students’ own ideas concerning their future life course determine the decision for shadow education even against their parents’ wishes;

  3. (3)

    considerable differences in the effects of social origin and educational aspirations on the decision for a certain type of shadow education are found; and

  4. (4)

    low social strata prefer correspondence courses, whereas high social strata prefer juku-lessons. The theoretical approach presented in this chapter stresses the importance of acknowledging the existence of a multitude of actors involved in each phase of the decision-making process, including the students themselves, especially when explaining inequalities in modern societies.



Shadow education Juku Private tutoring Supplementary education Social inequality Educational opportunities Educational decision-making Educational aspirations Rational Choice Theory Shadow Education Investment Theory SEII Frame HHSS 2011 Japan 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department for Education, Social Science Educational ResearchUniversity of PotsdamPotsdamGermany

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