Witschge, Jacqueline, Jesper Rözer, and Herman van de Werfhorst. (2018). Type of education and civic and political attitudes. British Educational Research Journal, in print.

summary: In addition to increasing cognitive skills and preparing students for the labour market, one of the core tasks of education is to prepare citizens for participation in democracy. Considering the ideal of democratic equality, it is important to know the degree to which civic outcomes of education are distributed equally. One feature of the education system that can lead to differential civic outcomes is tracking, that is, the sorting of students into different types of education. In this study, we examine the relationship between type of education (general/academic or vocational) and five attitudinal dimensions of civic and political engagement between the ages of 14 and 49 years in the Netherlands. By using panel data from the Netherlands Longitudinal Lifecourse Study (n = 5,312) and applying linear fixed effects models, we can observe the effect of a transition in the type of education on the within-person change in our outcome variables. The findings demonstrate that transitions in the type of education have little effect on intention to vote, trust in institutions or ethnic tolerance. However, students making transitions in general/academic education develop higher levels of interest in politics and generalised trust than do students in vocational education or people outside the education system. This point suggests that general/academic education fosters civic and political participation.

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