According to conventional wisdom in political behavior research, education has a direct causal effect on political participation. However, a number of recent studies have questioned this established view by arguing that education is not a direct cause of political participation but only a proxy for other factors that are not directly related to the educational experience. This paper engages in a current debate regarding the application of matching techniques to assess whether there is a direct causal effect of education on political participation. It uses data from a British cohort study that follows everyone born during 1 week in the UK in 1970. The data includes a rich set of variables measuring factors through childhood and adolescence such as cognitive ability and family socioeconomic status. This data provides the opportunity to match on a number of important variables that are not included in the US datasets used by previous studies in the field. Results show that after matching there are no significant effects of education on political participation.
Political Behavior – Springer Journals
Published: Sep 17, 2013
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