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Understanding Education's Influence on Support for Democracy in Sub-Saharan Africa


  • Geoffrey Evans
  • Pauline Rose


Is education consequential for popular endorsement of democracy in developing societies and, if so, what are the mechanisms that account for this influence? We investigate the micro-foundations of the education--democracy nexus using a survey of 18 sub-Saharan African countries. We demonstrate that educational level is the strongest influence on support for democracy and rejection of non-democratic alternatives via its impact on comprehension of, and attention to, politics. This is consistent with a cognitive interpretation of the effects of education on democratic values rather than one which treats education as a marker of economic resource inequalities.

Suggested Citation

  • Geoffrey Evans & Pauline Rose, 2012. "Understanding Education's Influence on Support for Democracy in Sub-Saharan Africa," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 48(4), pages 498-515, February.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:jdevst:v:48:y:2012:i:4:p:498-515
    DOI: 10.1080/00220388.2011.598508

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. World Bank, 2001. "A Chance to Learn : Knowledge and Finance for Education in Sub-Saharan Africa," World Bank Publications - Books, The World Bank Group, number 13855, December.
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    1. Le défi de l’accès et de la qualité de l’éducation dans les pays en développement
      by (Marine de Talance) in BS Initiative on 2015-02-05 15:54:26


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    Cited by:

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    2. Jangsaeng Kim & Miyang Jun, 2022. "Money, a Drain of Educational Opportunity: A Microregional Study of School Dropouts in Mpigi, Uganda," Sustainability, MDPI, vol. 14(10), pages 1-15, May.
    3. Djemaï, Elodie & Kevane, Michael, 2023. "Effects of education on political engagement in rural Burkina Faso," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 165(C).
    4. Santiago López-Cariboni & Xun Cao, 2019. "When do authoritarian rulers educate: Trade competition and human capital investment in Non-Democracies," The Review of International Organizations, Springer, vol. 14(3), pages 367-405, September.
    5. Datzberger, Simone & Le Mat, Marielle L.J., 2019. "Schools as change agents? Education and individual political agency in Uganda," International Journal of Educational Development, Elsevier, vol. 67(C), pages 18-28.
    6. Joseph Yaw Asomah & Eugene Emeka Dim, 2021. "Determinants of citizens’ support for democracy in Ghana," Social Science Quarterly, Southwestern Social Science Association, vol. 102(6), pages 2578-2590, November.
    7. Bakker Femke E. & Rotondi Valentina, 2016. "Vote for Your Family! Particularism, Support for Democracy and Support for Shari’a in the Arab World," Review of Middle East Economics and Finance, De Gruyter, vol. 12(2), pages 115-137, August.
    8. Alexander Kemnitz & Martin Roessler, 2023. "The effects of economic development on democratic institutions and repression in non-democratic regimes: theory and evidence," Constitutional Political Economy, Springer, vol. 34(2), pages 145-164, June.
    9. Eshtiyagh, Javad, 2022. "The secularizing effect of education in Indonesia," International Journal of Educational Development, Elsevier, vol. 94(C).

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