Graduate income inequalities: a qualified desert responsibility analysis

MORRISON, Andrew (2024). Graduate income inequalities: a qualified desert responsibility analysis. Philosophy and Theory in Higher Education, 5 (2), 357-381.

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This article proposes a ‘qualified desert responsibility’ framework to analyse social class-based differentials in graduate incomes in the UK. I posit that unequal outcomes can only be justified on desert grounds by virtue of actions or qualities for which individuals may reasonably be held responsible. I then review a range of sociological studies of graduate employment from which I conclude that disparities between middle-class and working-class graduates cannot be justified by reference to a desert principle because they are the product of an unequally structured labour market for which individuals cannot reasonably be held responsible. In the discussion, I develop this argument by drawing upon Fishkin’s theory of ‘opportunity pluralism’. I conclude with a brief account of sociological investigations of intra-class graduate employment experiences. Here, I suggest that unequal outcomes can be justified by reference to the desert principle where there is evidence that the responsibility condition has been met.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: This paper has been checked for publication on a weekly basis and was first identified as being published on 11/03/2024
Identification Number:
Page Range: 357-381
SWORD Depositor: Symplectic Elements
Depositing User: Symplectic Elements
Date Deposited: 24 Apr 2023 14:43
Last Modified: 27 Mar 2024 14:48

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