Beijing College Students Panel Survey (BCSPS)


In 2009, CASER researchers, in collaboration with Renmin University of China, designed and launched the first panel study of Chinese college students, the Beijing College Students Panel Survey (BCSPS), which would seek to investigate social stratification within Chinese higher education, and students’ learning and social experience throughout their college years. The BCSPS constructed a unique student panel data set to examine the interplay between family backgrounds, individual ability, academic training, political institutions, career trajectories, and socioeconomic attainment over time. The project was funded by Renmin University of China and the Hong Kong Research Grants Council.

The project started with 5,100 students from 15 universities that were representative of all full-time students enrolled in fifty-four publicly funded tertiary institutions in Beijing in 2009. The BCSPS drew on the database of registration record cards for all students matriculated in 2006 and 2008 as the sampling frame (first- and third-year students) and adopted the PPS strategy whereby the primary sampling units are universities, from which the secondary sampling units are fields of study. In the sample design, all higher education institutions were classified into six strata: the first three strata corresponding to three elite universities in Beijing: Peking University, Tsinghua University, and Renmin University of China, respectively. The remaining three strata are 211 Project universities affiliated with MoE or other ministries, non-211 Project universities affiliated with the MoE or other ministries, and institutions affiliated with the municipal government of Beijing. In each of the three elite universities (the first three strata), twenty-five majors and twenty students from each major were selected. In each of the other strata, six, two, and four universities were sampled, respectively, and fifteen majors were randomly selected from each institution (twenty students from each major). The sample ultimately comprises 5,100 randomly selected full-time registered undergraduate students who matriculated in 2006 and 2008, of which 4,771 respondents were successfully interviewed in the first wave in 2009, with follow-up interviews in 2010, 2011, 2012, and 2013 consisting of 4,426, 4,271, 4,043, and 2,603 completed cases, respectively. BCSPS accumulated five waves of data until 2013. A new wave of follow-up surveys is currently in planning.

Selected Publications in English

Wu, Xiaogang. 2017. “Higher Education, Elite Formation and Social Stratification in Contemporary China: Preliminary Findings from the Beijing College Students Panel Survey.” Chinese Journal of Sociology 3 (1), 3-31.

Hu, Anning and Xiaogang Wu. 2019. “Parental Education and College Students’ Attitudes Toward Love: Survey Evidence from China.” Journal of Marriage and Family 81 (3), 584-600.

Hu, Anning, and Xiaogang Wu 2019. “Science or liberal arts? Cultural capital and college major choice in China” The British Journal of Sociology 70 (1), 190-213.

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