Public Schooling, Indoctrination, and Totalitarianism

45 Pages Posted: 3 May 1999 Last revised: 3 Aug 2020

Date Written: December 1, 1998


Governments use public education and public ownership of schools and the media to control the information that their citizens receive. More totalitarian governments as well as those with larger wealth transfers make greater investments in publicly controlled information. This finding is borne out from cross sectional time-series evidence across countries, and is confirmed when specifically examining the recent fall of communism. My results reject the standard public good's view linking education and democracy, and I find evidence that public educational expenditures vary in similar ways to government ownership of television stations.

JEL Classification: I28

Suggested Citation

Lott, John R., Public Schooling, Indoctrination, and Totalitarianism (December 1, 1998). John R. Lott, Jr., "Public Schooling, Indoctrination, and Totalitarianism," Journal of Political Economy Vol. 107, No. S6 (December 1999), pp. S127-S157, Available at SSRN: or

John R. Lott (Contact Author)

US Department of Justice ( email )

Washington, DC 20531
United States

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