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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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4. What Links Education to Tolerance? Psychological Predispositions and Socio-economic Conditions


4.1 Introduction and Research Questions

In order to appropriately address the first research question of interest in this chapter – What are the differences between educational groups with regard to levels of political and social tolerance? (RQ1) – I estimate regression models predicting political and social tolerance at the individual-level for all countries simultaneously. This allows the evaluation of the research hypothesis H1 whether overall, higher levels of educational attainment lead to higher levels of (political and social) tolerance. In the subsequent analyses I will also test two sub-hypotheses about the relationship between education and tolerance. In the first version of the hypothesis H1, following the operationalisation employed in most previous research, I expect the effect of education to be monotonous and close to linear. In this view, achieving any higher level of education than the basic one results in a change of values. In the case of tolerance, education should then always have an increasing significant positive effect – each higher category of education should lead to higher levels of tolerance. Thus, an increment in educational attainment by each category should always have an increasing linear positive effect on political and social tolerance compared to basic education (H1a). The second version of the hypothesis proposes a non-linear relationship with tolerance. It expects notable differences between levels of tolerance within different educational categories, with even possible insignificant effects at lower levels. H1b therefore states that the effect of education on levels of political and social tolerance varies considerably between...

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