Foreign Education, Ideology, and the Fall of Imperial China
1 Pages Posted: 18 Feb 2021
Date Written: December 15, 2020
It has long been accepted that education is an important determinant of economic growth. What is less often observed is that, through indoctrination, education can also shape preferences and ideology. Using the 1911 Chinese Revolution as example, we demonstrate how the Qing government’s intention to acquire knowledge useful for state building by sending students to study in Japan led to unexpected political consequences. By using the number of Chinese students in Japan as a proxy for the effects of foreign education, we show that counties with a higher density of overseas students had significantly higher participation in political parties, greater representation in electoral politics, and were more likely to declare independence from the Qing government. The content of education also mattered; political activism was significantly stronger in counties where more students studied arts and social sciences subjects. Schools and newspapers were the channels through which the ideology of nationalism was diffused.
Keywords: Foreign Education, Ideology, Nationalism, Political Transformation, Content of Education, Human Capital, Imperial China.]
JEL Classification: N45, O15, O53, P48
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