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Access to education and political candidacy: Lessons from school openings in Sweden

Journal article
Authors Karl Oskar Lindgren
Sven Oskarsson
Mikael J Persson
Published in Economics of Education Review
Volume 69
Issue April 2019
Pages 138-148
ISSN 02727757
Publication year 2019
Published at Department of Political Science
Pages 138-148
Language en
Links https://doi.org/10.1016/j.econedure...
Keywords Education, Political representation
Subject categories Political Science

Abstract

How does availability of education affect who becomes a political representative? Theorists have pointed out that access to education is a key to a well-functioning democracy, but few empirical studies have examined how changes in the access to education influence the chances of becoming a politician. In this paper, we analyze the effects of a large series of school openings in Sweden during the early 20th century, which provided adolescents with better access to secondary education. We use administrative data pertaining to the entire Swedish population born between 1916 and 1945. According to our empirical results, the opening of a new lower secondary school in a municipality increased the baseline probability of running for political office by 10–20%, and the probability of holding office by 20–30%.

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