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Education Opportunity and Support for Authoritarian Rule: Evidence from the expansion of higher education in China
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Authoritarian regimes throughout the world expand their educationsystems in an effort to appease citizens and promote economic growth. Scholarsof China argue that this strategy allows the regime to enjoy a high level of publicsupport. Yet, a vast modernization literature argues for the democratizingpotential of education. These two diverging theoretical predictions raise aninteresting empirical question, what effect does education have on individual-level support for authoritarian rule? I leverage an expansion in higher educationin China as an identification strategy to study the effect of education reformon two measures of support for authoritarian rule: support for governmentcensorship and trust in the central government. While the reform openedmillions of positions in higher education, it also resulted in high graduateunemployment, and a general decrease in perceived quality. I find that highereducation reform led to a substantial decrease in regime support. The negativeeffect of the reform was strongest among cohorts that entered the weakestlabour markets in the year of their graduation and therefore were most likelyto be unemployed. I further find that education reform had an effect on valuesassociated with procedural democracy in that it is associated with an increasedbelief in citizen participation, but that there was no effect on values associatedwith broader definitions of democracy such as social trust and tolerance.

National Category
Political Science
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-391261OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-391261DiVA, id: diva2:1344433
Available from: 2019-08-20 Created: 2019-08-20 Last updated: 2019-08-20
In thesis
1. Don't be late for school again: Essays on education and support for democracy
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Don't be late for school again: Essays on education and support for democracy
2019 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

An extensive body of work has found that countries with relatively educated populations are more likely to be democratically governed. Further, a large body of work argues that education is associated with a host of individual-level factors, such as political participation and democratic values, which provides a micro-level mechanism to explain the link between education and democracy. The  central claim is that education universally engenders democratic values, which in turn, drives individuals to make claim for democratic governance.  I build on this prior research in three respects. First, in Paper 1, using a sample of identical twins I show that the impact of education on political knowledge is highly confounded by family background.  Education has a positive impact on knowledge for those individuals that were not exposed to political discussion in the home during upbringing.  But for those that discussed politics with family, education has no impact on political knowledge.  Second, I challenge the claim that education has a universally positive effect by examining the role of political context.  In Papers 2 and 3 I leverage education reforms as quasi-experiments to study how the effect of education on political attitudes varies in authoritarian and democratic countries.  In Paper 2 we find that education at the primary and secondary level has no impact on support for democracy in principle, but that education in an authoritarian context leads to less satisfaction with democracy after a country transitions, whereas education in a democratic context leads to greater satisfaction with democracy.  In Paper 3 I find that higher education in an authoritarian context weakens support for authoritarian rule, but that this effect is mitigated by a strong economy. Finally, in Paper 4 we focus on the validity of survey measures of regime support in authoritarian states.  Through a series of list experiments implemented in a novel web-based survey in China we find that respondents self-censor their true level of regime support to a large degree.  Further, the level of self-censorship varies greatly by income, age, residence status, and education.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Uppsala: Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis, 2019. p. 48
Series
Digital Comprehensive Summaries of Uppsala Dissertations from the Faculty of Social Sciences, ISSN 1652-9030 ; 169
Keywords
Education, support for democracy, political knowledge, authoritarianism
National Category
Political Science (excluding Public Administration Studies and Globalisation Studies)
Research subject
Political Science
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-391262 (URN)978-91-513-0729-9 (ISBN)
Public defence
2019-10-11, Ostromsalen, Department of Government, Östra Ågatan 19, Uppsala, 10:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2019-09-20 Created: 2019-08-20 Last updated: 2019-10-15

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CiteExportLink to record
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