The Expansion of Higher Education in Brazil between 1982 and 2006: Disentangling Age, Period and Cohort Effects


Over the last three decades, Brazil has experienced a large expansion of its post-secondary education system. This paper investigates changes in the likelihood of enrolling in post-secondary education in Brazil, given conclusion of secondary education, between 1982 and 2006. An investigation of trends in enrollment over time reveals the existence of period effects. Analysis using both age-period-cohort tables and the APC "intrinsic estimator" model shows that there are age and cohort effects that interfere with the period effects. The intrinsic estimator model reveals consistently declining age effects and an upward period effect after the 1990s, exactly when the educational expansion peaked in the country. Cohort effects, however, indicate an increase in the probability of attending post-secondary education for the early cohorts, but not for cohorts born after 1970. Suggestions are made to explain the findings, and further research is prescribed in order to develop a more precise explanatory model.