The emergence of a ‘diploma democracy’? The political education gap in the Netherlands, 1971–2010

Abstract

In recent work, Bovens and Wille (2010, 2011) state that the Netherlands has turned into a ‘diploma-democracy’. The core of their argument is that the higher educated have come to dominate political processes in the Netherlands. While the effect of education on political and civic participation is well documented, Bovens and Wille make a longitudinal claim, namely that the political gap between education groups has increased over time. Yet, the longitudinal evidence presented to back up their claim is limited. In this article we track the education gap in various political behaviours and attitudes in the Netherlands from 1971 to 2010. Our analyses show that there is no evidence for a widening educational gap. In the case of political interest, the gap between educational groups has even narrowed significantly.

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Notes

  1. 1.

    In the regression tables that follow, we report the magnitude and statistical significance of the coefficient on the interaction terms. However, in line with recommendations by Brambor et al (2006) we have plotted the effect of education on each of the six dependent variables and the 95 per cent confidence intervals against the modifying variable (‘time’) to ensure that we interpret our conditional coefficients and their standard errors correctly. These graphs are not shown to save space, but are available from the authors upon request.

  2. 2.

    Cramer's V equals 0.162 for the 1970s, 0.174 for the 1980s, 0.161 for the 1990s and 0.151 for the 2000s.

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Correspondence to Armen Hakhverdian.

Appendix

Appendix

Table A1

Table A1 Data appendix

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Hakhverdian, A., van der Brug, W. & de Vries, C. The emergence of a ‘diploma democracy’? The political education gap in the Netherlands, 1971–2010. Acta Polit 47, 229–247 (2012). https://doi.org/10.1057/ap.2011.27

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Keywords

  • education
  • political inequality
  • political participation
  • populism
  • Dutch politics