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Br J Sociol. 2008 Jun;59(2):327-50. doi: 10.1111/j.1468-4446.2008.00196.x.

Education effects on authoritarian-libertarian values: a question of socialization.

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Department of Political Science, University of Aarhus.


Over the past decades an authoritarian-libertarian value dimension has become increasingly important to electoral behaviour across western countries. Previous analyses have shown that education is the most important social antecedent of individuals' positions on this value dimension; high education groups tend towards the libertarian pole and low education groups tend towards the authoritarian pole. It remains an open question, however, what aspects of education cause this relationship. The article examines a range of explanatory models: a psychodynamic, a cognitive, a socialization, and an allocation effects model. The results strongly favour the socialization model in which the relationship between education and authoritarian-libertarian values is explained as a result of differences in the value sets transferred to students in different educational milieus. The value differences between the educational groups should thus not be seen as reflecting economic differences between the groups but rather as the result of a more fundamental value conflict.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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