Education as Liberation?

58 Pages Posted: 11 Apr 2011 Last revised: 17 Apr 2011

See all articles by Willa Friedman

Willa Friedman

University of Houston - Department of Economics

Michael Kremer

Harvard University - Department of Economics; Brookings Institution; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); Center for Global Development; Harvard University - Harvard Kennedy School (HKS)

Edward Miguel

University of California, Berkeley - Department of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Rebecca L. Thornton

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Department of Economics, Students

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: April 2011

Abstract

Scholars have long speculated about education's political impacts, variously arguing that it promotes modern or pro-democratic attitudes; that it instills acceptance of existing authority; and that it empowers the disadvantaged to challenge authority. To avoid endogeneity bias, if schooling requires some willingness to accept authority, we assess the political and social impacts of a randomized girls' merit scholarship incentive program in Kenya that raised test scores and secondary schooling. We find little evidence for modernization theory. Consistent with the empowerment view, young women in program schools were less likely to accept domestic violence. Moreover, the program increased objective political knowledge, and reduced acceptance of political authority. However, this rejection of the status quo did not translate into greater perceived political efficacy, community participation, or voting intentions. Instead, the perceived legitimacy of political violence increased. Reverse causality may help account for the view that education instills greater acceptance of authority.

Suggested Citation

Friedman, Willa and Kremer, Michael R. and Miguel, Edward and Thornton, Rebecca L., Education as Liberation? (April 2011). NBER Working Paper No. w16939. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1805441

Willa Friedman (Contact Author)

University of Houston - Department of Economics ( email )

Houston, TX 77204-5882
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Michael R. Kremer

Harvard University - Department of Economics ( email )

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Brookings Institution

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National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) ( email )

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Center for Global Development

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Harvard University - Harvard Kennedy School (HKS) ( email )

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Edward Miguel

University of California, Berkeley - Department of Economics ( email )

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National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

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Rebecca L. Thornton

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Department of Economics, Students ( email )

Champaign, IL
United States

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