Grievances or Skills? The Effect of Education on Youth Attitudes and Political Participation in Egypt and Tunisia - Economic Research Forum (ERF)

Grievances or Skills? The Effect of Education on Youth Attitudes and Political Participation in Egypt and Tunisia

Miquel Pellicer, Ragui Assaad, Caroline Krafft and Colette Salemi

June, 2017


26 pages

F5. International Relations, National Security, and International Political Economy
I2. Education and Research Institutions

There are two prominent accounts of the 2011 Arab Uprisings and the role of education in youth mobilization. The first argument focuses on grievances: this hypothesis rests on a link between educational attainment and youth job aspirations that the labor market has not been able to fulfill. These unfulfilled aspirations fuel grievances and, hence, protest. The other argument focuses on mobilization costs. The central hypothesis is that education provides the skills, knowledge and/or contacts that facilitate political participation. This paper assesses and attempts to disentangle these two accounts by examining the effect of education on measures of grievance, political knowledge, and political participation using rich youth surveys from Egypt and Tunisia. In order to partially deal with the endogeneity of education, we control for parental education and sibling fixed effects. We find a strong and robust correlation of education with political knowledge and political participation, but not with grievances.

هناك روايتان بارزتان عن الثورات العربية لعام 2011 ودور التعليم في تعبئة الشباب. وتركز الحجة الأولى على المظالم: تستند هذه الفرضية إلى الصلة بين التحصيل العلمي وتطلعات الشباب الوظيفية التي لم يتمكن سوق العمل من تحقيقها. هذه التطلعات التي لم تتحقق تغذي المظالم، وبالتالي الاحتجاج. وتركز الحجة الأخرى على تكاليف التعبئة. الفرضية المركزية هي أن التعليم يوفر المهارات والمعرفة و / أو الاتصالات التي تسهل المشاركة السياسية. وتقيم هذه الورقة محاولة فصل هاتين الحجتين من خلال دراسة تأثير التعليم على تدابير التظلم والمعارف السياسية والمشاركة السياسية باستخدام دراسات استقصائية غنية للشباب من مصر وتونس. من أجل التعامل جزئيا مع تجانس التعليم، نتحكم في التعليم الأبوي والأخوة الآثار الثابتة. نجد علاقة قوية بين التعليم مع المعرفة السياسية والمشاركة السياسية، ولكن ليس هناك علاقة مع المظالم.

Miquel Pellicer

Research Fellows

Ragui Assaad

Professor of Planning and Public Affairs, University of Minnesota


Caroline Krafft

Assistant Professor of economics at St. Catherine University


Colette Salemi

Research Assistant at the University of Minnesota



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