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Education and Civic Engagement: Review of Research and a Study on Norwegian Youths


  • Jon Lauglo

    (University of Oslo)

  • Tormod Øia

    (Telemark University College, Porsgrunn)


What difference does education make for young adults' engagement in politics and social issues? This study is part of the OECD's Centre for Educational Research and Innovation (CERI) project on "Measuring the Social Outcomes of Learning" (SOL). It discusses relevant international research, with special attention to studies in the Nordic countries, and analyses survey responses by more than 11 000 Norwegian youths aged 13 to 19. "Engagement" is defined as youth's declared interest in politics and social issues and by their participation in various forms of political activity. Educational performance and especially educational aspirations matter for this type of engagement. Socialisation in family environments with regard to civic related issues, however, matters even more for taking interest in such types of civic engagement. It also seems that young people experience educational benefits from growing up in families who care about the civic domain. Separately, the findings suggest that young people who are politically active do not easily conform to the status quo. Rather, they confront the authority structures of their schools more often than other young people do. The paper concludes with suggestions for policy and research. Quel est l'impact de l'éducation sur l'engagement politique et social des jeunes adultes ? Ce rapport, publié dans le cadre du projet « Mesurer les retombées sociales de l'éducation » du Centre pour la recherche et l'innovation de l'OCDE (CERI), traite de la recherche internationale en la matière, et plus particulièrement dans les pays nordiques, et analyse les réponses à une enquête menée auprès de plus de 11 000 Norvégiens âgés de 13 à 19 ans. Par « engagement » on entend l'intérêt déclaré des jeunes pour les problèmes politiques et sociaux ainsi que leur participation à diverses formes d'action politique. Les performances éducatives, et notamment les aspirations scolaires, ont une importance dans ce type d'engagement. Mais la socialisation aux problèmes civiques au sein des familles compte pour bien plus dans l'intérêt porté à l'engagement civique. Également, les jeunes semblent retirer des bénéfices éducatifs du fait de grandir dans des familles intéressées par les questions civiques. D'un autre côté, 'étude suggère que les jeunes qui sont politiquement actifs ne s'accommodent pas du statu quo ; ils ont tendance à se confronter aux autorités de leurs établissements plus souvent que les autres. En conclusion, le rapport fait des recommandations en matière de politique et de recherche.

Suggested Citation

  • Jon Lauglo & Tormod Øia, 2007. "Education and Civic Engagement: Review of Research and a Study on Norwegian Youths," OECD Education Working Papers 12, OECD Publishing.
  • Handle: RePEc:oec:eduaab:12-en

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    Cited by:

    1. Kristin Anderson Moore & Laura H. Lippman & Hugh McIntosh, 2009. "Positive Indicators of Child Well-being: A conceptual framework, measures and methodological issues," Papers inwopa580, Innocenti Working Papers.

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