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This book throws new light on the evolving relationship between education and welfare in the context of the knowledge economy. It analyses complex political, economic and cultural processes to look at the role of public policy in shaping levels of access to education in advanced post-industrialised countries, and explores in depth the effects different levels of investment and regulation in post-compulsory education and training have for both economic development and social inclusion. Providing the most systematic account available to date of the new interplay between education and welfare, this work will be illuminating not only to academics and students but also policy-makers and practitioners.