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Education, Family Background, and Political Knowledge: A Test of the Compensation Hypothesis with Identical Twins
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Government.
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.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2019.
National Category
Political Science
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-391259DOI: 10.1177/0032321719848901OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-391259DiVA, id: diva2:1344431
Available from: 2019-08-20 Created: 2019-08-20 Last updated: 2019-08-26Bibliographically approved
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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