Estimating the Impact of Education on Political Participation: Evidence from Monozygotic Twins in the United States, Denmark and Sweden

Peter Thisted Dinesen, Christopher T. Dawes, Magnus Johannesson, Robert Klemmensen, Patrik Magnusson, Asbjørn Sonne Nørgaard, Inge Petersen, Sven Oskarsson

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Abstract

    In this study we provide new evidence on the much-discussed effect of education on political participation by utilizing the quasi-experiment of twinning. By looking at the relationship between education and participation within monozygotic (MZ) twin pairs we are able to circumvent traditional sources of confounding of the relationship rooted in genes and early life family environment because MZ twins share both. The results of within-twin pair analyses based on surveys from the United States, Denmark and Sweden show that while the relationship between education and political participation is highly confounded by genes and/or familial environment in all three countries, a positive impact remains of years of education in the US and of high school completion in Denmark. No effect is found in Sweden. Robustness checks suggest that the observed effect is not confounded by within-twin pair differences in prenatal environment nor differential treatment during childhood, and, if anything, that it most likely constitutes a lower bound estimate.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)579-601
    Number of pages23
    JournalPolitical Behavior
    Volume38
    Issue number3
    DOIs
    StatePublished - Sep 1 2016

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    Keywords

    • Co-twin control design
    • Education
    • Monozygotic twins
    • Political participation

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Sociology and Political Science

    Cite this

    Dinesen, P. T., Dawes, C. T., Johannesson, M., Klemmensen, R., Magnusson, P., Nørgaard, A. S., Petersen, I., & Oskarsson, S. (2016). Estimating the Impact of Education on Political Participation: Evidence from Monozygotic Twins in the United States, Denmark and Sweden. Political Behavior, 38(3), 579-601. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11109-015-9328-2