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Don't be late for school again: Essays on education and support for democracy
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Government.
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 [en]
Education, support for democracy, political knowledge, authoritarianism
National Category
Political Science (excluding Public Administration Studies and Globalisation Studies)
Research subject
Political Science
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-391262ISBN: 978-91-513-0729-9 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-391262DiVA, id: diva2:1344437
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
List of papers
1. Educating Democrats or Autocrats?: The regime-conditional effect of education on support for democracy
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Educating Democrats or Autocrats?: The regime-conditional effect of education on support for democracy
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Political science has long viewed education as an instrumental factorin developing support for democracy at the individual-level. However, govern-ments, both democratic and authoritarian, have substantial control over thecurriculum and develop education institutions with the specific aim to instill instudents the norms and values that underpin the regime. With this in mind,this study asks, does the effect of education vary by the political regime inwhich education was undertaken? We leverage seventeen education reformsimplemented throughout Europe in the 20th century that extended compulsoryschooling, combined with survey data from the European and World ValuesSurveys to answer this question. Four of these reforms were implemented incountries ruled by non-democratic regimes – all of which have since transitionedto democracy – and the remaining thirteen were enacted in countries ruleddemocratically. We find that education has no effect on principle and functionalsupport for democracy, but that education’s effect on satisfaction with democ-racy is conditional on regime type. For those educated in democratic countries,education led to greater satisfaction with democracy. But for those educated inauthoritarian states, education led to less satisfaction with democracy.

National Category
Political Science (excluding Public Administration Studies and Globalisation Studies)
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-391260 (URN)
Available from: 2019-08-20 Created: 2019-08-20 Last updated: 2019-08-29
2. Self-censorship of regime support in authoritarian states: Evidence from list experiments in China
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Self-censorship of regime support in authoritarian states: Evidence from list experiments in China
2019 (English)In: Res Rhetorica, ISSN 1652-8581, E-ISSN 2053-1680, Vol. 6, no 3, article id UNSP 2053168019856449Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The study of popular support for authoritarian regimes has long relied on the assumption that respondents provide truthful answers to surveys. However, when measuring regime support in closed political systems there is a distinct risk that individuals are less than forthright due to fear that their opinions may be made known to the public or the authorities. In order to test this assumption, we conducted a novel web-based survey in China in which we included four list experiments of commonly used items in the comparative literature on regime support. We find systematic bias for all four measures; substantially more individuals state that they support the regime with direct questioning than when presented with our indirect list experiments. The level of self-censorship, which ranges from 24.5 to 26.5 percentage points, is considerably higher than previously thought. Self-censorship is further most prevalent among the wealthy, urban, female and younger respondents.

Keywords
Political support, self-censorship, list experiment, response bias, China
National Category
Political Science (excluding Public Administration Studies and Globalisation Studies)
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-390974 (URN)10.1177/2053168019856449 (DOI)000475431200001 ()
Funder
Swedish Research Council, 439-2014-38
Available from: 2019-08-16 Created: 2019-08-16 Last updated: 2019-08-20Bibliographically approved
3. Education Opportunity and Support for Authoritarian Rule: Evidence from the expansion of higher education in China
Open this publication in new window or tab >>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:nbn:se:uu:diva-391261 (URN)
Available from: 2019-08-20 Created: 2019-08-20 Last updated: 2019-08-20
4. Education, Family Background, and Political Knowledge: A Test of the Compensation Hypothesis with Identical Twins
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Education, Family Background, and Political Knowledge: A Test of the Compensation Hypothesis with Identical Twins
2019 (English)In: Political science, ISSN 0032-3187, E-ISSN 2041-0611Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Prior research has consistently identified education as an important correlate of political knowledge, which, many argue, reflects an underlying causal relationship. However, recent work has questioned this interpretation rather arguing that family background causes one to both obtain an education and to develop political knowledge. I argue that this causal-versus-proxy debate is too simplistic. Specifically, using a sample of identical twins, I test the interaction between education, political discussion in the home, and political knowledge. I find that education is positively associated with political knowledge independent of family background and genetics for those who discussed politics with family relatively little during upbringing. However, for those who discussed politics with family members more frequently, education has no association with political knowledge independent of pre-adult factors. Therefore, education compensates for a lack of exposure to political content in the home.

National Category
Political Science
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-391259 (URN)10.1177/0032321719848901 (DOI)
Available from: 2019-08-20 Created: 2019-08-20 Last updated: 2019-08-26Bibliographically approved

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