Perpetuating inequality through participation in adult learning and education in Russia
We apply cumulative advantage (CA) theory to understand the social hierarchies behind the accumulation of skills and rewards through Adult Learning and Education (ALE) – formal, informal, and non-formal. Using representative data from the Russian Longitudinal Monitoring Survey (RLMS-HSE), we confirm the assumption of CA theory that advantages are accumulated through ALE, not only within social groups, but also between them. For individuals coming from educationally advantaged families but without higher education, participation in informal non-job-related ALE and formal ALE enhances employment chances. It is therefore a strategy to compensate for the lack of higher education for those coming from educationally advantaged families. For those coming from less educationally advantaged families, higher education moderates the positive effect on wages of non-formal ALE without employer support. Rather than being a way to compensate for between-group inequalities, this type of ALE allows for labour market adaptation for the educationally disadvantaged and has positive effects within the group. We conclude that various types of ALE are institutionalised into different paths of human capital accumulation.