Does university have an effect on young people’s active citizenship in England?

Bryony Hoskins, Jinyu Olivia

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    Abstract: Educational attainment measured by years of education has been widely reported as leading to higher levels of political participation. The theory is that education plays an important role in a person’s civic skills and cognitive capacity that helps them understand and connect with the world of politics and be able to defend their interests (Nie et al. 1996). However, a number of studies argue that education has no effect on political engagement as educational attainment has been identified as a proxy for socioeconomic background and cognitive ability. In order to examine whether the university has an effect on young people’s intentions for active citizenship in England, hybrid cumulative logit models are used in the Citizenship Education Longitudinal Study (CELS) 2009–2014 with between and within effects which help explain differences between individuals and within individuals at different time points. Control measures of previous citizenship education are also included in the analysis. We find that the university has a positive independent effect on intentions to vote, a negative effect on intentions to volunteer, but not on intentions to protest in the future for young people in England. These findings help clarify the role of higher education (HE) in developing and maintaining democracy and social cohesion.
    Original languageEnglish
    Early online date30 Mar 2020
    Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 30 Mar 2020

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