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Education and Political Participation

  • Mikael Persson

Abstract

What affects who participates in politics? In most studies of political behaviour it is found that individuals with higher education participate to a larger extent in political activities than individuals with lower education. According to conventional wisdom, education is supposed to increases civic skills and political knowledge that functions as the causal mechanisms triggering participation. However, recently a number of studies have started dealing with the question of whether education is a direct cause for political participation or merely works as a proxy for other factors, such as pre-adult socialization or social network centrality. This review article provides an introduction and critical discussion of this debate.

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Department of Political Science, University of Gothenburg (email mikael.persson@pol.gu.se). The author thanks Peter Esaiasson, Mikael Gilljam, Robert Goodin, Henrik Oscarsson, Sven Oskarsson, Staffan Kumlin, Bo Rothstein and the anonymous referees for comments on previous versions of this article.

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