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Educating Democrats or Autocrats?: The regime-conditional effect of education on support for democracy
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Government.
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Government.
(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: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-391260OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-391260DiVA, id: diva2:1344432
Available from: 2019-08-20 Created: 2019-08-20 Last updated: 2019-08-29
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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