- 1993-9019 (online)
This series is designed to make available to a wider readership selected studies drawing on the work of the OECD Directorate for Education. Authorship is usually collective, but principal writers are named. The papers are generally available only in their original language (English or French) with a short summary available in the other.
Reflections on Political Participation and Education in Austria
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- Florian Walter1, Sieglinde Rosenberger1
- Author Affiliations
- 1: University of Economics and Business, Vienna, Austria
- 23 Nov 2007
- Bibliographic information
This study, part of OECD/CERI's project on Measuring the Social Outcomes of Learning, investigates the relationship between educational attainment and political participation in Austria. First, a model based on various theoretical considerations is introduced. This incorporates direct educational effects as well as indirect effects that occur through material resources, social capital, civic orientations and values. Using a multivariate analytical approach the model is applied to the 2002 European Social Survey. Three forms of political participation are distinguished, namely voting, elite-directed and elite-challenging activities. Educational attainment is found to have significant effects on all three types but the strongest impact is on elite-challenging activities. The latter includes forms of political action such as signing petitions and buying or boycotting certain products which are increasingly accepted as a legitimate way to express one's political preferences. Most of the effects of education arise through intermediate variables, including social capital (especially affiliation with non-political organisations), civic orientations (political interest as well as internal and external efficacy) and individual (postmaterialist) values. The effect of education on elite-directed activity operated primarily through organisational affiliation, as well as internal and external efficacy. In contrast, the effect of education on elite-challenging activity seems to be fostered via social environments that combine high levels of political interest, interpersonal trust, postmaterialist values and a certain degree of scepticism against political institutions. The paper concludes with suggestions for policy and research.