“The Long-Term Effect of University Education on Political Participation,” Dominik Hangartner, ETH Zurich & LSE

Event time: 
Thursday, April 19, 2018 - 12:00pm to 1:15pm
Institution for Social and Policy Studies (PROS077 ), A002 See map
77 Prospect Street
New Haven, CT 06511
Event description: 


Abstract: Does higher education increase political participation? Despite myriad studies on this topic, we lack reliable evidence that isolates the causal effect of university education on participation from bias due to non-random selection into higher education. We identify this effect by leveraging quasi-random variation in university graduation created by entry tests for upper-level secondary schools used in Switzerland. Comparing otherwise similar citizens who, as students, narrowly pass or narrowly fail their school entry test, we find that attending and completing a university track increases electoral participation. Turning to non-electoral forms of political participation, we find a positive effect on non-costly forms of participation but no effect on costly forms. Our targeted survey also allows us to explore the importance of various mechanisms. While we don’t find support for the hypotheses that educational effects are mediated via increased levels of political knowledge, partisan attachment, community organizations, or external efficacy, our findings are consistent with the idea that political interest is a relevant mediator.

Dominik Hangartner is an Associate Professor of Public Policy at ETH Zurich and in the Department of Government at the London School of Economics and Political Science (currently on leave). He is also a Faculty Co-Director of the Immigration Policy Lab, with branches at Stanford University and ETH Zurich. Professor Hangartner uses field work and statistics to study the effects of migration policies and political institutions. His work has been published in leading scholarly journals such as the American Journal of Political Science, American Political Science Review, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences and Science, and has received several awards including the Philip Leverhulme Prize.

After pre-doctoral fellowships at Harvard University, Washington University in Saint Louis, and the University of California, Berkeley, Professor Hangartner received his Ph.D. in Social Science from the University of Bern in 2011.

This workshop series is being sponsored by the ISPS Center for the Study of American Politics and The Whitney and Betty MacMillan Center for International and Area Studies at Yale with support from the Edward J. and Dorothy Clarke Kempf Fund.

Open to: 
General Public