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Does Higher Education Cause Political Participation?: Evidence From a Regression Discontinuity Design

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  • Solis, Alex

    () (Department of Economics)

Abstract

Education has been considered by political economy and political science literature one of the most important factors explaining political participation: voter turnout, civic engagement, political knowledge, and democratic attitudes. However, only few papers have explored the causal link with contradictory findings. In this paper, I use the eligibility criteria for two loan programs in Chile, that produce an exogenous variation on higher education enrollment, to test the causal effects of higher education and college on two measures of political participation: voter registration and affiliation with a political party. Using administrative individual data from the universe of voters, I find evidence that the relationship is statistically zero. Moreover, the relationship is zero when the data is analyzed by income, sex or by different background measures. A survey from a representative sample of the population allows a RD analysis that indicates that higher education do not cause changes in attitudes towards democracy, political knowledge, participation in demonstrations or in civic organizations, but it does cause overreporting on voting registration.

Suggested Citation

  • Solis, Alex, 2012. "Does Higher Education Cause Political Participation?: Evidence From a Regression Discontinuity Design," Working Paper Series 2013:13, Uppsala University, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:hhs:uunewp:2013_013
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Bobba, Matteo & Coviello, Decio, 2007. "Weak instruments and weak identification, in estimating the effects of education, on democracy," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 96(3), pages 301-306, September.
    2. Joshua D. Angrist & Alan B. Krueger, 1991. "Estimating the Payoff to Schooling Using the Vietnam-era Draft Lottery," Working Papers 670, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
    3. Robert J. Barro, 1999. "Determinants of Democracy," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 107(S6), pages 158-183, December.
    4. Angrist, Joshua D, 1990. "Lifetime Earnings and the Vietnam Era Draft Lottery: Evidence from Social Security Administrative Records: Errata," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 80(5), pages 1284-1286, December.
    5. Angrist, Joshua D, 1990. "Lifetime Earnings and the Vietnam Era Draft Lottery: Evidence from Social Security Administrative Records," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 80(3), pages 313-336, June.
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    Cited by:

    1. Lindgren, Karl-Oskar & Oskarsson, Sven & Persson, Mikael, 2017. "Can increased education help reduce the political opportunity gap?," Working Paper Series 2017:12, IFAU - Institute for Evaluation of Labour Market and Education Policy.
    2. Alex Solis, 2017. "Credit Access and College Enrollment," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 125(2), pages 562-622.
    3. Milla, Joniada, 2017. "The Context-Bound University Selectivity Premium," IZA Discussion Papers 11025, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    4. Parinduri, Rasyad, 2016. "Does education increase political participation? Evidence from Indonesia," MPRA Paper 70326, University Library of Munich, Germany.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    political participation; college; higher education; voting registration; overreporting;

    JEL classification:

    • I21 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Analysis of Education
    • I25 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Education and Economic Development

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