Born into Openness: Parental Socialisation and the Educational Divide in Attitudes Towards Globalisation

30.04.2018 - 12:00 to 13:30
Location : 
A 5,6 Raum A 231
Type of Event : 
AB B-Kolloquium
Prof. Theresa Kuhn
Lecturer affiliation: 
Universität Amsterdam

Amid growing scholarly interest in a public backlash against globalization, this paper asks what is behind the educational foundations of this conflict. Previous research consistently shows that educational attainment is a strong predictor of attitudes towards European integration and immigration, and this is usually explained by values and skills acquired in education, and by labor market competition. Another mechanism that influences both attitudes and the educational trajectory of children—parental socialization—has so far received only scant attention. While there is self-selection into education, previous work relied exclusively on cross-sectional analysis, which does not differentiate between education and selection effects. Using data from the Swiss Household Panel (SHP, 1999-2011), we examine the cross- sectional and longitudinal impact of educational attainment on euroskepticism and anti-immigration attitudes for individuals from the age of 13 years onwards. While we find pronounced differences between high and low educated individuals, our longitudinal analysis shows no change in attitudes as individuals pass through education. Supporting the parental socialization hypothesis, we find a strong effect of parental attitudes and education on youngsters’ attitudes. The results suggest that differences between educational groups are mostly due to self-selection and socialization rather than to a genuine education effect. While our empirical analysis covers Switzerland, our research bears important implications for understanding the current political conflict over globalization in other Western societies.