Skip to main content
×
Home
    • Aa
    • Aa

Deliberate Disengagement: How Education Can Decrease Political Participation in Electoral Authoritarian Regimes

  • KEVIN CROKE (a1), GUY GROSSMAN (a2), HORACIO A. LARREGUY (a3) and JOHN MARSHALL (a4)
Abstract

A large literature examining advanced and consolidating democracies suggests that education increases political participation. However, in electoral authoritarian regimes, educated voters may instead deliberately disengage. If education increases critical capacities, political awareness, and support for democracy, educated citizens may believe that participation is futile or legitimizes autocrats. We test this argument in Zimbabwe—a paradigmatic electoral authoritarian regime—by exploiting cross-cohort variation in access to education following a major educational reform. We find that education decreases political participation, substantially reducing the likelihood that better-educated citizens vote, contact politicians, or attend community meetings. Consistent with deliberate disengagement, education’s negative effect on participation dissipated following 2008’s more competitive election, which (temporarily) initiated unprecedented power sharing. Supporting the mechanisms underpinning our hypothesis, educated citizens experience better economic outcomes, are more interested in politics, and are more supportive of democracy, but are also more likely to criticize the government and support opposition parties.

Copyright
Corresponding author
Kevin Croke is Researcher in the Development Research Group at the World Bank, Washington, DC (kcroke@worldbank.org).
Guy Grossman is Assistant Professor, Department of Political Science, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA (ggros@sas.upenn.edu).
Horacio A. Larreguy is Assistant Professor, Department of Government, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA (hlarreguy@fas.harvard.edu).
John Marshall is Assistant Professor, Department of Political Science, Columbia University, New York, NY (jm4401@columbia.edu).
Footnotes
Hide All

This article benefited from helpful conversations with, and suggestions from, Karen Grépin, Patrick O’Halloran, Marc Meredith, and participants at the Boston Working Group in African Political Economy and at seminars at John Hopkins University, London School of Economics, New York University, UC Berkeley, Universidade Nova de Lisboa, and the World Bank.

Footnotes
Linked references
Hide All

This list contains references from the content that can be linked to their source. For a full set of references and notes please see the PDF or HTML where available.

Daron Acemoglu , Simon Johnson , James A. Robinson , and Pierre Yared . 2005. “From Education to Democracy?American Economic Review 95 (2): 44–9.

Jorge M. Agüero , and Prashant Bharadwaj . 2014. “Do the More Educated Know More about Health? Evidence from Schooling and HIV Knowledge in Zimbabwe.” Economic Development and Cultural Change 62 (3): 489517.

Gabriel A. Almond , and Sidney Verba . 1963. The Civic Culture: Political Attitudes and Democracy in Five Nations. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.

Duane F. Alwin , and Jon A. Krosnick . 1991. “Aging, Cohorts, and the Stability of Sociopolitical Orientations Over the Life Span.” American Journal of Sociology 97 (1): 169–95.

Robert J. Barro 1999. “Determinants of Democracy.” Journal of Political Economy 107 (S6): 158–83.

Adam J. Berinsky , and Gabriel S. Lenz . 2011. “Education and Political Participation: Exploring the Causal Link.” Political Behavior 33 (3): 357–73.

Michael Bratton , and Eldred Masunungure . 2008. “Zimbabwe’s Long Agony.” Journal of Democracy 19 (4): 4155.

Thomas Carothers . 2002. “The End of the Transition Paradigm.” Journal of Democracy 13 (1): 521.

Timothy G. Conley , Christian B. Hansen , and Peter E. Rossi . 2012. “Plausibly Exogenous.” Review of Economics and Statistics 94 (1): 260–72.

Thomas S. Dee 2004. “Are there Civic Returns to Education?Journal of Public Economics 88: 1697–720.

Karl W. Deutsch 1961. “Social Mobilization and Political Development.” American Political Science Review 55 (03): 493514.

Betty Jo Dorsey . 1989. “Educational Development and Reform in Zimbabwe.” Comparative Education Review 33 (1): 4058.

Edward L. Glaeser , Giacomo A. M. Ponzetto , and Andrei Shleifer . 2007. “Why Does Democracy Need Education?Journal of Economic Growth 12 (2): 7799.

Karen A. Grépin , and Prashant Bharadwaj . 2015. “Maternal Education and Child Mortality in Zimbabwe.” Journal of Health Economics 44: 97117.

Guy Hermet . 1978. State–Controlled Elections: A Framework. In Elections Without Choice, eds. Guy Hermet , Richard Rose , and Alain Rouquie . New York: John Wiley.

D. Sunshine Hillygus . 2005. “The Missing Link: Exploring the Relationship Between Higher Education and Political Engagement.” Political Behavior 27 (1): 2547.

Samuel P. Huntington 1991. “Democracy’s Third Wave.” Journal of Democracy 2 (2): 1234.

Ronald Inglehart , and Christian Welzel . 2005. Modernization, Cultural Change, and Democracy: The Human Development Sequence. New York, NY: Cambridge University Press..

M. Kent Jennings , and Richard G. Niemi . 1968. “The Transmission of Political Values from Parent to Child.” American Political Science Review 62 (1): 169–84.

Cindy D. Kam , and Carl L. Palmer . 2008. “Reconsidering the Effects of Education on Political Participation.” The Journal of Politics 70: 612–31.

Rasma Karklins . 1986. “Soviet Elections Revisited: Voter Abstention in Noncompetitive Voting.” The American Political Science Review 80 (2): 449–70.

Elisabeth King . 2013. From Classrooms to Conflict in Rwanda. New York, NY: Cambridge University Press.

Michelle T. Kuenzi 2006. “Nonformal Education, Political Participation, and Democracy: Findings from Senegal.” Political Behavior 28 (1): 131.

Timur Kuran . 1991. “Now Out of Never: The Element of Surprise in the East European Revolution of 1989.” World Politics 44 (1): 748.

Ronald La Due Lake , and Robert Huckfeldt . 1998. “Social Capital, Social Networks, and Political Participation.” Political Psychology 19 (3): 567–84.

Adrienne LeBas . 2006. “Polarization as Craft: Party Formation and State Violence in Zimbabwe.” Comparative Politics 38 (4): 419–38.

Adrienne LeBas . 2014. “A New Twilight in Zimbabwe? The Perils of Power Sharing.” Journal of Democracy 25 (2): 5266.

Steven Levitsky , and Lucan A. Way . 2002. “The Rise of Competitive Authoritarianism.” Journal of Democracy 13: 5166.

Steven Levitsky , and Lucan A. Way . 2010. Competitive Authoritarianism: Hybrid Regimes After the Cold War. New York: Cambridge University Press.

Arend Lijphart . 1997. “Unequal Participation: Democracy’s Unresolved Dilemma.” American Political Science Review 91 (1): 114.

Lauren M. MacLean 2011. “State Retrenchment and the Exercise of Citizenship in Africa.” Comparative Political Studies 44 (9): 1238–66.

Beatriz Magaloni . 2006. Voting for Autocracy: Hegemonic Party Survival and Its Demise in Mexico. New York, NY: Cambridge University Press.

Beatriz Magaloni , and Ruth Kricheli . 2010. “Political Order and One-Party Rule.” Annual Review of Political Science 13 (1): 123–43.

Ngonidzashe Marongwe . 2013. “Political Aesthetics, the Third Chimurenga, and the ZANU-PF Mobilization in Shurugwi District of Zimbabwe.” Journal of Developing Societies 29 (4): 457–85.

Marc Meredith . 2009. “Persistence in Political Participation.” Quarterly Journal of Political Science 4 (3): 187209.

Kevin Milligan , Enrico Moretti , and Philip Oreopoulos . 2004. “Does Education Improve Citizenship? Evidence from the United States and the United Kingdom.” Journal of Public Economics 88: 1667–95.

Fabrice Murtin , and Romain Wacziarg . 2014. “The democratic transition.” Journal of Economic Growth 19 (2): 141–81.

Anders Narman . 2003. Education in Zimbabwe: A Matter of Success? In Twenty Years of Independence in Zimbabwe: From Liberation to Authoritarianism, eds. Staffan Darnolf and Liisa Laakso . London, UK: Palgrave Macmillan, Chap. 7, 140–58.

Tichatonga J. Nhundu 1992. “A Decade of Educational Expansion in Zimbabwe: Causes, Consequences, and Policy Contradictions.” The Journal of Negro Education 61 (1): 7898.

Mikael Persson . 2011. “An Empirical Test of the Relative Education Model in Sweden.” Political Behavior 33 (3): 455–78.

Daniel N. Posner , and David J. Simon . 2002. “Economic Conditions and Incumbent Support in Africa’s New Democracies Evidence from Zambia.” Comparative Political Studies 35 (3): 313–36.

Robert D. Putnam 1995. “Bowling Alone: America’s Declining Social Capital.” Journal of Democracy 6 (1): 6578.

Andreas Schedler . 2013. The Politics of Uncertainty: Sustaining and Subverting Electoral Authoritarianism. New York: Oxford University Press.

David O. Sears , and Nicholas A. Valentino . 1997. “Politics Matters: Political Events as Catalysts for Preadult Socialization.” American Political Science Review 91 (1): 4565.

Masipula Sithole . 2001. “Fighting Authoritarianism in Zimbabwe.” Journal of Democracy 12 (1): 160–9.

Michael Spence . 1973. “Job Market Signaling.” Quarterly Journal of Economics 87 (3): 355–74.

Douglas Staiger , and James H. Stock . 1997. “Instrumental Variables Regression with Weak Instruments.” Econometrica 65 (3): 557–86.

Susan C. Stokes , Thad Dunning , Marcelo Nazareno , and Valeria Brusco . 2013. Brokers, Voters, and Clientelism: The Puzzle of Distributive Politics. New York, NY: Cambridge University Press.

Leonard Wantchekon , Marko Klašnja , and Natalija Novta . 2015. “Education and Human Capital Externalities: Evidence from Colonial Benin.” Quarterly Journal of Economics 130 (2): 703–57.

Robert D. Woodberry 2012. “The Missionary Roots of Liberal Democracy.” American Political Science Review 106 (2): 244–74.

Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

American Political Science Review
  • ISSN: 0003-0554
  • EISSN: 1537-5943
  • URL: /core/journals/american-political-science-review
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *
×
Type Description Title
PDF
Supplementary Materials

Croke supplementary material
Online Appendix

 PDF (32.5 MB)
32.5 MB

Metrics

Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 31
Total number of PDF views: 608 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 1250 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between 24th October 2016 - 20th September 2017. This data will be updated every 24 hours.