Skip to main content
×
×
Home

Turnout and Education: Is Education Proxying for Pre-Adult Experiences Within the Family?*

  • Elisabeth Gidengil, Lasse Tarkiainen, Hanna Wass and Pekka Martikainen
Abstract

This study uses a discordant sibling-based design to assess the extent to which education is proxying for pre-adult experiences and predispositions rooted in the family. It draws on a unique data set that combines official voting records with Census data on siblings and their parents. The results show that the association between education and voting is considerably reduced when parental education, parental voting and unobserved characteristics that are shared by siblings within the same family are taken into account. This finding is confirmed by a variety of robustness checks. We end with a discussion of the benefits and limitations of sibling-based designs for testing causal hypotheses.

Copyright
Footnotes
Hide All
*

Elisabeth Gidengil, Hiram Mills Professor, Department of Political Science & Centre for the Study of Democratic Citizenship, McGill University, Leacock Building, Room 414, 855 Sherbrooke Street West, Montreal, Quebec, Canada H3A 2T7 (elisabeth.gidengil@mcgill.ca). Lasse Tarkiainen, Postdoctoral researcher (lasse.tarkiainen@helsinki.fi) and Pekka Martikainen, Professor of Demography (pekka.martikainen@helsinki.fi), Population Research Unit, Department of Social Research, University of Helsinki, P.O. Box 18, FIN-00014. Hanna Wass, Academy Research Fellow, University Lecturer, Department of Political and Economic Studies, University of Helsinki, P.O. Box 54, Helsinki 00014 (hanna.wass@helsinki.fi). This research received funding from the Academy of Finland (grant 273433).

Footnotes
References
Hide All
Aldrich, John H., Montgomery, Jacob M., and Wood, Wendy. 2011. ‘Turnout as a Habit’. Political Behavior 33(4):535563.
Allison, Paul. 2009. Fixed Effects Regression Models. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.
Bandura, Albert. 1977. Social Learning Theory. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice–Hall.
Berinsky, Adam J., and Lenz, Gabriel S.. 2011. ‘Education and Political Participation: Exploring the Causal Link’. Political Behavior 33(3):357373.
Blake, Judith. 1981. ‘Family Size and the Quality of Children’. Demography 18(4):421442.
Bound, John, and Solon, Gary. 1999. ‘Double Trouble: On the Value of Twins–Based Estimation of the Return to Schooling’. Economics of Education Review 18(2):169182.
Brady, Henry E., Schlozman, Key Lehman, and Verba, Sydney. 2015. ‘Political Mobility and Political Reproduction from Generation to Generation’. Annals of the American Academy 657:149173.
Cannon, Tyrone D., Kaprio, Jaakko, Lönnqvist, Jouko, Huttunen, Matti, and Koskenvuo, Markku. 1998. ‘The Genetic Epidemiology of Schizophrenia in a Finnish Twin Cohort: A Population-Based Modeling Study’. Archives of General Psychiatry 55(1):6774.
Charney, Evan, and English, William. 2013. ‘Genopolitics and the Science of Genetics’. American Political Science Review 107(2):382395.
Dee, Thomas S. 2004. ‘Are There Civic Returns to Education?’. Journal of Public Economics 88(9–10):16971720.
Deppe, Kristen D., Stoltenberg, Scott F., Smith, Kevin B., and Hibbing, John R.. 2013. ‘Candidate Genes and Voter Turnout: Further Evidence on the Role of 5–HTTLPR’. American Political Science Review 107(2):375381.
Dinesen, Peter, Thisted, Christopher T., Dawes, Magnus Johannesson, Klemmensen, Robert, Magnusson, Patrik, Sonne Nørgaard, Asbørn, Petersen, Inge, and Oskarsson, Sven. 2016. ‘Estimating the Impact of Education on Political Participation: Evidence from Monozygotic Twins in the United States, Denmark and Sweden’. Political Behavior 38(3):579601.
D’Onofrio, Brian M., Benjamin, B. Lahey, Turkheimer, Eric, and Lichtenstein, Paul. 2013. ‘Critical Need for Family-Based, Quasi-Experimental Designs in Integrating Genetic and Social Science Research’. American Journal of Public Health 103:4655.
Fowler, James H., and Dawes, Christopher T. 2008. ‘Two Genes Predict Voter Turnout’. Journal of Politics 70(3):579594.
Fowler, James H., and Christopher, T. Dawes. 2013. ‘In Defense of Genopolitics’. American Political Science Review 107(2):362374.
Frisell, Thomas, Öberg, Anna Sara, Kuja-Halkola, Ralf, and Sjölander, Arvid. 2012. ‘Sibling Comparison Designs: Bias From Non–Shared Confounders and Measurement Error’. Epidemiology 23(5):713720.
Gallego, Aina. 2015. Unequal Political Participation Worldwide. New York: Cambridge University Press.
Gerber, Alan S., Gregory, A. Huber, Doherty, David, Dowling, Conor M., Raso, Connos, and Ha, Shang E.. 2011. ‘Personality Traits and Participation in Political Processes’. The Journal of Politics 73(3):692706.
Gidengil, Elisabeth, Wass, Hanna, and Valaste, Maria. 2016. ‘Political Socialization and Voting: The Parent–Child Link in Turnout’. Political Research Quarterly 69(2):373383.
Green, Donald P., and Shachar, Ron. 2000. ‘Habit Formation and Political Behavior: Evidence of Consuetude in Voter Turnout’. British Journal of Political Science 30(4):561573.
Griliches, Zvi. 1979. ‘Sibling Models and Data in Economics: Beginnings of a Survey’. Journal of Political Economy 87(5):S37S64.
Henderson, John, and Chatfield, Sara. 2011. ‘Who Matches? Propensity Scores and Bias in the Causal Effects of Education on Participation’. The Journal of Politics 73(3):646658.
Horrace, William, and Oaxaca, Ronald L.. 2006. ‘Results on the Bias and Inconsistency of Ordinary Least Squares for the Linear Probability Model’. Economics Letters 90(3):321327.
Kam, Cindy D., and Palmer, Carl L.. 2008. ‘Reconsidering the Effects of Education on Political Participation’. The Journal of Politics 70(3):612631.
Kam, Cindy D., and Palmer, Carl L.. 2011. ‘Rejoinder: Reinvestigating the Causal Relationship Between Higher Education and Political Participation’. The Journal of Politics 73(3):659663.
Karlson, Kristian B., Holm, Anders, and Breen, Richard. 2012. ‘Comparing Regression Coefficients Between Same-Sample Nested Models Using Logit and Probit: A New Method’. Sociological Methodology 42(1):286313.
Karp, Jeffrey A., and Brockington, David. 2005. ‘Social Desirability and Response Validity: A Comparative Analysis of Overreporting Voter Turnout in Five Countries’. The Journal of Politics 67(3):825840.
Kristensen, Petter, and Bjerkedal, Tor. 2007. ‘Explaining the Relation Between Birth Order and Intelligence’. Science 316(5832):1717.
Lahey, Benjamin, and D’Onofrio, Brian. 2010. ‘All in the Family: Comparing Siblings to Test Causal Hypotheses Regarding Environmental Influences on Behavior’. Current Directions in Psychological Science 19(5):319323.
Luciano, Michelle, Wainwright, Mark A., Wright, Margaret J., and Martin, Nicholas G.. 2006. ‘The Heritability of Conscientiousness Facets and Their Relationship to IQ and Academic Achievement’. Personality and Individual Differences 40(6):11891199.
Martikainen, Pekka, Martikainen, Tuomo, and Wass, Hanna. 2005. ‘The Effect of Socioeconomic Factors on Voter Turnout in Finland: A Register Based Study of 2.9 Million Voters’. European Journal of Political Research 44(5):645669.
Mayer, Alexander K. 2011. ‘Does Education Increase Political Participation?’. The Journal of Politics 73(3):633645.
Milligan, Kevin, Moretti, Enrico, and Oreopoulos, Philip. 2004. ‘Does Education Improve Citizenship? Evidence from the United States and the United Kingdom’. Journal of Public Economics 88(9–10):16671695.
Mondak, Jeffery J., and Kaaren, D. Halperin. 2008. ‘A Framework for the Study of Personality and Political Behavior’. British Journal of Political Science 38(2):335362.
Mondak, Jeffery J., Matthew, V. Hibbing, Canache, Damarys, Seligson, Mitchell A., and Anderson, Mary R.. 2010. ‘Personality and Civic Engagement: An Integrative Framework for the Study of Trait Effects on Political Behavior’. American Political Science Review 104(1):85110.
Nie, Norman H., Junn, Jane, and Stehlik-Barry, Kenneth. 1996. Education and Democratic Citizenship in America. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.
Okbay, Aysu et al. 2016. ‘Genome-wide association study identifies 74 loci associated with educational attainment’. Nature 533(4604):539542.
Pelkonen, Panu. 2012. ‘Length of Compulsory Education and Voter Turnout – Evidence from a Staged Reform’. Public Choice 150(1–2):5175.
Persson, Mikael. 2014. ‘Testing the Relationship Between Education and Political Participation Using the 1970 British Cohort Study’. Political Behavior 36(4):877897.
Persson, Mikael. 2015. ‘Education and Political Participation’. British Journal of Political Science 45(3):689703.
Persson, Mikael, and Oscarssson, Henrik. 2010. ‘Did the Egalitarian Reforms of the Swedish Educational System Equalise Levels of Democratic Citizenship?’. Scandinavian Political Studies 33(2):135163.
Rodgers, Joseph L., and Rowe, David C.. 1985. ‘Does Contiguity Breed Similarity? A Within–Family Analysis of Nonshared Sources of IQ Differences Between Siblings’. Developmental Psychology 21(5):743746.
Rosenstone, Stephen J., and Hansen, John Mark. 2003. Mobilization, Participation and Democracy in America. New York: Longman.
Sieben, Iinge, Huinink, Johannes, and Graf, Paul M. de. 2001. ‘Family Background and Sibling Resemblance in Educational Attainment: Trends in the Former FRG, the Former GDR, and the Netherlands’. European Sociological Review 17(4):401430.
Siedler, Thomas. 2009. ‘Schooling and Citizenship in a Young Democracy: Evidence from Postwar Germany’. Scandinavian Journal of Economics 112(2):315338.
Smets, Kaat, and van Ham, Carolien. 2013. ‘The Embarrassment of Riches? A Meta–Analysis of Individual–Level Research of Voter Turnout’. Electoral Studies 32(2):344359.
Søndergaard, G., Mortensen, L.H., Nybo Andersen, A.-M., Andersen, P.K., Dalton, S.O., Madsen, M., and Osler, M.. 2012. ‘Does Shared Family Background Influence the Impact of Educational Differences on Early Mortality?’. American Journal of Epidemiology 176(8):675683.
Sondheimer, Rachel M., and Green, Donald P.. 2010. ‘Using Experiments to Estimate the Effects of Education on Voter Turnout’. American Journal of Political Science 54(1):174189.
Talens, Rudolf. P, Christensen, Kaare, Putter, Hein, Willemsen, Gonneke, Christiansen, Lene, Kremer, Dennis, Eka, H., Suchiman, D., Slagboom, P. Eline, Boomsma, Dorret I., and Heilmans, Bastiaan T.. 2012. ‘Epigenetic Variation During the Adult Lifespan: Cross-Sectional and Longitudinal Data on Monozygotic Twin Pairs’. Aging Cell 23:694703.
Tenn, Steven. 2007. ‘The Effect of Education on Voter Turnout’. Political Analysis 15(4):446464.
van Dongen, Jenny, Slagboom, P. Eline, Draisma, Harmen H.M., Martin, Nicholas G., and Boomsma, Dorret I.. 2012. ‘The Continuing Value of Twin Studies in the Omics Era’. Nature Reviews Genetics 13:640653.
Verba, Sydney, Lehman Schlozman, Key, and Brady, Henry E.. 1995. Voice and Equality: Civic Voluntarism in American Politics. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
Verba, Sydney, Lehman Schlozman, Key, and Burns, Nancy. 2005. ‘Family Ties: Understanding the Intergenerational Transmission of Political Participation’. In A. Zuckerman ((ed.)), The Social Logic of Politics: Personal Networks as Contexts for Political Behavior, 95114. Philadelphia, PA: Temple University Press.
Wolfinger, Raymond E., and Steven, J. Rosenstone. 1980. Who Votes? New Haven. CT: Yale University Press.
Recommend this journal

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

Political Science Research and Methods
  • ISSN: 2049-8470
  • EISSN: 2049-8489
  • URL: /core/journals/political-science-research-and-methods
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *
×

Metrics

Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 10
Total number of PDF views: 51 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 344 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between 17th October 2017 - 20th April 2018. This data will be updated every 24 hours.