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Education and Tolerance

A Comparative Quantitative Analysis of the Educational Effect on Tolerance


Lenka Drazanova

This book examines to what extent the effect of education on political and social tolerance varies cross-nationally. It gives an inventory of micro- and macro- level factors moderating this effect. The empirical analysis is based on comparative surveys across 24 and 33 countries at two time points. Results indicate that the positive effect of education does not always overcome the negative effects of personality characteristics and low socio-economic status. Moreover, education contributes to more tolerant views only in countries with certain political, socio-economic and cultural background. Overall, the book argues that there are several micro- and macro-level conditions that should be fulfilled before one may proclaim education as the universal problem solver.

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3. Models of the Effects of Education on Political and Social Tolerance


3.1 Data

In order to test for the hypotheses outlined in Chapter 2 empirically, the analyses need to rely on two types of data: micro-level data and macro-level data. Moreover, in order to see the within-country stability and/or change of individual value systems as well as in the education-tolerance relationship according to shifts in contextual characteristics, a time perspective is necessary. Introducing a time perspective in the analyses allows to test both the reliability of the relationship between education and tolerance and the time trends in levels of tolerance among educational groups. However, I am not assessing individual value changes in tolerance over time, because the dataset does not contain the so-called panel data and therefore does not provide information on the same individuals over time. This approach corresponds with my assumption that, based on theory and previous empirical research, I do not expect individuals’ tolerance levels to be subjected to changes over time.1

The primary source of individual-level data on political and social tolerance in this study is the World Value Survey (WVS) carried out by the World Values Survey Association. The World Value Survey, in collaboration with the European Values Study (EVS), has – from 1981 to 2014 – carried out six2 waves of representative national surveys in almost 100 societies. Surveys are conducted using a standardised questionnaire that measures changing values covering a vast range of topics, such as religion, gender roles, democracy, good governance, social capital, political participation, tolerance of other groups,...

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