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Curriculum and Ideology

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  • Davide Cantoni
  • Yuyu Chen
  • David Y. Yang
  • Noam Yuchtman
  • Y. Jane Zhang

Abstract

We study the causal effect of school curricula on students’ stated beliefs and attitudes. We exploit a major textbook reform in China that was rolled out between 2004 and 2010 with the explicit intention of shaping youths’ ideology. To measure its effect, we present evidence from a novel survey we conducted among 2000 students at Peking University. The sharp, staggered introduction of the new curriculum across provinces allows us to identify the effects of the new educational content in a generalized difference in differences framework. We examine government documents articulating desired consequences of the reform, and identify changes in textbook content and college entrance exams that reflect the government’s aims. These changes were often effective: study under the new curriculum is robustly associated with changed views on political participation and democracy in China, increased trust in government officials, and a more skeptical view of free markets.

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Paper provided by CESifo Group Munich in its series CESifo Working Paper Series with number 4779.

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Date of creation: 2014
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Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_4779

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Keywords: schooling curricula; indoctrination; ideology; beliefs; China;

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  1. Willa Friedman & Michael Kremer & Edward Miguel & Rebecca Thornton, 2011. "Education as Liberation?," NBER Working Papers 16939, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Bisin, Alberto & Verdier, Thierry, 2001. "The Economics of Cultural Transmission and the Dynamics of Preferences," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 97(2), pages 298-319, April.
  3. Anderson, Michael L., 2008. "Multiple Inference and Gender Differences in the Effects of Early Intervention: A Reevaluation of the Abecedarian, Perry Preschool, and Early Training Projects," Journal of the American Statistical Association, American Statistical Association, American Statistical Association, vol. 103(484), pages 1481-1495.
  4. Yann Algan & Pierre Cahuc & Andrei Shleifer, . "Teaching Practices and Social Capital," Working Paper 19523, Harvard University OpenScholar.
  5. Yang Yao & Nancy Qia & Monica Martinez Bravo & Gerard Padro i Miquel, 2011. "Do Local Elections in Non-Democracies Increase Accountability? Evidence from Rural China," Working Papers id:3931, eSocialSciences.
  6. Ulrike Malmendier & Stefan Nagel, 2009. "Depression Babies: Do Macroeconomic Experiences Affect Risk-Taking?," NBER Working Papers 14813, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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