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Does Education Indoctrinate? The Effect of Education on Political Preferences In Democracies and Autocracies


  • Ishac Diwan

    () (Paris Sciences et Lettres, Columbia University and ERF)

  • Irina Vartanova


Using World Value Survey and European Value Study data spanning 96 countries and over 300,000 individuals, we first establish that the regime type individuals live under moderates the correlation between education and political values. While more education is always associated with more political emancipation, the effect is larger in democracies than in autocracies. We then investigate two mechanisms that can lead to these outcomes – indoctrination through the education system, and the social and political interests of the educated. First, we look at all countries that have undergone regime change, and ask whether individuals educated under different regimes hold different political values. We find evidence that those educated under a democratic system have a larger political return to education than those educated in autocracies. Second, using the full sample, we relate individuals’ political values to both the regime under which they have studied, and the regime under which they currently live. We find that the educated tend to be more conservative politically when they live in anocracies, than when they live in democracies or autocracies.

Suggested Citation

  • Ishac Diwan & Irina Vartanova, 2018. "Does Education Indoctrinate? The Effect of Education on Political Preferences In Democracies and Autocracies," Working Papers 1178, Economic Research Forum, revised 12 Apr 2018.
  • Handle: RePEc:erg:wpaper:1178

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    References listed on IDEAS

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