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Civic Returns to Higher Education: A Note on Heterogeneous Effects

Archived Abstract of Former PSC Researcher

Brand, Jennie. 2010. "Civic Returns to Higher Education: A Note on Heterogeneous Effects." Social Forces, 89(2): 417-433.

American educational leaders and philosophers have long valued schooling for its role in preparing the nation's youth to be civically engaged citizens. Numerous studies have found a positive relationship between education and subsequent civic participation. However, little is known about possible variation in effects by selection into higher education, a critical omission considering education's expressed role as a key mechanism for integrating disadvantaged individuals into civic life. I disaggregate effects and examine whether civic returns to higher education are largest for disadvantaged low likelihood or advantaged high likelihood college goers. I find evidence for significant effect heterogeneity: civic returns to college are greatest among individuals who have a low likelihood for college completion. Returns decrease as the propensity for college increases.

Country of focus: United States.

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