Education level and income attainment inequalities: A service ecosystem perspective

Rosalba Manna, Maria Vincenza Ciasullo, Silvia Cosimato, Rocco Palumbo


Purpose. The ecosystem view is a fascinating perspective, which provides managerial scholars with innovative conceptual tools to investigate the functioning of complex service systems. This paper focuses on the education service ecosystem “mega” level to explain the relationship between education attainments and income disparities across Europe.

Methodology. Data were collected from the European Union Statistics on Income and Living Conditions (EU-SILC). Data trends over the time period (2007-2010) were investigated, involving 27 European Countries; unobserved time-invariant heterogeneity was controlled and dynamics over time were followed. A random effects model was estimated for each Country: in particular, random effects model allow to conduct regression analysis, especially when the units of analysis are randomly selected from a large population, as in the instance of dataset. The semi-log functional form is informed by Mincer (1974) human capital models, which this study extended to other explanatory variables.

Findings. Education levels were found to be a predictor of income inequality in all the Countries included in this research, i.e. higher education level leads to higher income and vice versa. However, the effect of education attainments on individual earnings was irregular. Eastern European Countries, inter alia, revealed a strong relationship between education attainments and individual earnings, whereas Scandinavian Countries showed a weak link between education levels and income.

Practical implications. Education has the potential to affect income inequalities in Europe. Policy makers should devise tailored strategies to deal with the consequences of education attainment on individual earnings. Both education services’ quality and the interaction between education and other socio-demographic variables may influence income inequality in European Countries.

Originality/value. This is one of the first attempts to investigate the relationship between education levels and income inequalities in light of the service ecosystem perspective. Further conceptual and practical developments are needed to better explain the effects of education attainment on income inequality from an ecosystem point of view.


education services; income inequality; ecosystem view; awareness; patient empowerment

Full Text:



Akaka, M. A., Vargo, S. L., & Lusch, R. F. (2012). Review of Marketing Research. An exploration of networks in value cocreation: A service-ecosystems view, 9(1), 13-50.

Allison, P. D. (2009). Fixed Effects Regression Models. Newbury Park, CA: Sage.

Arellano, M. (2003). Panel Data Econometrics – Advanced Texts in Econometrics. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Balestra, P., & Nerlove, M. (1966). Pooling cross-section and time series data in the estimation of a dynamic model: the demand for natural gas. Econometrica, 34(3), 585-612.

Baltagi, B. (2009). Econometric Analysis of Panel Data. Sydney: John Wiley & Sons.

Baltagi, B. H. (1985). Pooling cross-sections with unequal time-series lengths. Economics Letters, 18(2/3), 133-136.

Baltagi, B. H., & Chang, Y. (1994). Incomplete panels: A comparative study of alternative estimators for the unbalanced one-way error component regression model. Journal of Econometrics, 62(2), 67-89.

Beirão, G., Patrício, L., & Fisk, R. P. (2017). Value cocreation in service ecosystems: Investigating health care at the micro, meso, and macro levels. Journal of Service Management, 28(2), 227-249.

Bonomi, S., Ricciardi, F., & Rossignoli, C. (2017). Service ecosystems for the common good: A case of non-profit network organization. 8th International Conference on Exploring Service Science (p. 397-408). Rome: Lecture Notes in Business Information Processing.

Brandsen, T., Pestoff, V., & Verschuere, B. (2014). Co-production and the third sector: The State of the art in research. In J. Defourny, L. Hulgärd, & V. Pestoff (A cura di), Social Enterprise and the Third Sector. Changing European landscapes in a comparative perspective (p. 231-249). London: Routledge.

Brown, P. & Tannock, S. (2009). Education, meritocracy and the global war for talent. Journal of Education Policy, 24(4), pp. 377-392.

Chandler, J. D., & Vargo, S. L. (2011). Contextualization and value-in-context: How context frames exchange. Marketing Theory, 11(1), 35-49.

Checchi, D., Peragine, V., & Serlenga, L. (2010). Fair and Unfair Inequalities in Europe. Discussion paper no. 5025. Bonn: Institute for the Study of Labor.

Ciasullo, M. V., Cosimato, S., Storlazzi, A., & Douglas, A. (2016). Health care ecosystem: some evidence from the International Consortium for Health Outcomes Measurement (ICHOM). 19th Toulon Verona Conference "Excellence in Services", (p. 147-164). Huelva.

Davis, G., & Ostrom, E. (1991). A Public Economy Approach to Education: Choice and Co-Production. International Political Science Review, 12(4), 313-335.

Frow, P., McColl-Kennedy, J. R., & Payne, A. (2016). Co-creation practices: Their role in shaping a health care ecosystem. Industrial Marketing Management, 56(1), 24-39.

Frow, P., McColl-Kennedy, J. R., Hilton, T., Davidson, A., Payne, A., & Brozovic, D. (2014). Value propositions. A service ecosystems perspective. Marketing Theory, 14(3), 327-351.

Goesling, B. (2001). Changing income inequalities within and between nations: new evidence. American Sociological Review, 66(5): 745-761.

Greene, W. (2003). Econometric Analysis. New Jersey: Prentice Hall.

Hardyman, W., Daunt, K. L., & Kitchener, M. (2015). Value Co-Creation through Patient Engagement in Health Care: A micro-level approach and research agenda. Public Management Review, 17(1), 90-107.

Horbel, C., Popp, B., Woratschek, H., & Wilson, B. (2016). How context shapes value co-creation: spectator experience of sport events. Service Industries Journal, 36(11/12), 510-531.

Hsiao, C. (2003). Analysis of Panel Data. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Huijts, T., Eikemo, T.A., & Skalickà, V. (2010). Income-related health inequalities in the Nordic Countries: Examining the role of education, occupational class and age. Social Science & Medicine, 71(11), pp. 1964-1972.

Kim, D. (2016). Value ecosystem models for social media services. Technological Forecasting and Social Change, 107(1), 13-27.

Manna, R., & Regoli, A. (2012). Regression-based approaches for the decomposition of income inequality in Italy, 1998-2008. Rivista di Statistica Ufficiale, 14(1), 5-18.

Mastrogiacomo, L., Barravecchia, F., & Franceschini, F. (2016). Service recycling and ecosystems: an intriguing similarity. International Journal of Quality and Service Sciences, 8(4), 555-562.

Mincer, J. (1958). Investment in Human Capital and Personal Income Distribution. Journal of Political Economy, 66(4), 281–302.

Mincer, J. (1974). Schooling, Experience and Earnings. New York: National Bureau of Economic Research.

Minkiewicz, J., Bridson, K., & Evans, J. (2016). Co-production of service experiences: insights from the cultural sector. Journal of Services Marketing, 30(7), 749-761.

Nesse, P. J., Hallingby, H. K., Akselsen, S., Munch-Ellingsen, A., Kähler, J., & Evensen, E. G. (2016). Succeeding with contactless service innovations-strategic recommendations based on a comparative analysis of mobile business ecosystems in Norway. International Journal of Entrepreneurial Venturing, 9(1), 60-80.

Prior, D. D., & Marcos-Cuevas, J. (2016). Value co-destruction in interfirm relationships: The impact of actor engagement styles. Marketing Theory, 16(4), 533-552.

Redding, S. (1991). Alliance for achievement: An action plan for educators and parents. International Journal of Educational Research, 15(2), 147-162.

Vargo, S. L., & Lusch, R. F. (2011). It’s all B2B and beyond: Toward a systems perspective of the market. Industrial Marketing Management, 40(2), 181-187.

Vargo, S. L., & Lusch, R. F. (2017). Service-dominant logic 2025. International Journal of Research in Marketing, 34(1), 46-67.

Verbeek, M. (. (2012). A guide to modern econometrics. Chichester: John Wiley & Sons.

Wooldridge, J. (2010). Econometric analysis of cross-section and panel data. Cambridge: The MIT Press.


  • There are currently no refbacks.