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Does Studying Political Science Affect Civic Attitudes? A Panel Comparison of Students of Politics, Law, and Mass Communication.

Journal article
Authors Peter Esaiasson
Mikael J Persson
Published in Journal of Political Science Education
Volume 10
Issue 4
Pages 375-385
ISSN 1551-2169
Publication year 2014
Published at Department of Political Science
Pages 375-385
Language en
Keywords educatin political science
Subject categories Political Science


The article evaluates the civic implications of studying political science. Previous research has argued that learning rational choice models of political behavior could be detrimental to civic outcomes. However, results from our two panel surveys of students at Swedish universities show the opposite: studying political science has positive effects on trust, and increases the importance that students ascribe to voting. The first panel survey shows that political science students are more affected by their education than are students of law and mass communication. The second panel survey shows that the views of political science students at two different educational institutions changed in a similar way. The results also suggest that political science students became more skeptical towards a participatory democratic ideal and more appreciative of representative democracy.

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