Inequality in Students' Citizenship Participation Across Countries

Wednesday, July 16, 2014: 3:45 PM
Room: Booth 65
Oral Presentation
Daniel MIRANDA , School of Psychology, Faculty of Social Sciences, P. Universidad Católica de Chile, Santiago, Chile
Cristián COX , Centro de Estudios de Políticas y Prácticas en Educación, Faculty of Education, P. Universidad Católica de Chile, Santiago, Chile
Martín BASCOPE , Centro de Estudios de Políticas y Prácticas en Educación, Faculty of Education, P. Universidad Católica de Chile, Santiago, Chile
Macarena BONHOMME , Mide UC, P. Universidad Católica de Chile, Santiago, Chile
Citizenship participation is a key element to sustain and legitimize the democratic system. Although citizens are assumed to have similar rights, the empirical evidence suggests that participation is characteristic of those with higher socioeconomic background (Brady, et. al., 1995). Furthermore, these inequalities would have an intergenerational transmission (Verba, Burns & Schlozman, 2003): children with well-educated parents have the knowledge, skills and attitudes for participate in a more effective way. The main objective of this study is to analyze the individual and contextual (school and country) elements that can mitigate/strengthen the impact of the social background on student´s citizenship participation, guided by the following questions: To what extent students’ participation levels differ across countries? Are these differences related to contextual factors? Do contextual factors affect the link between students’ background and participation? The central hypothesis in this study is that country contextual economic indicators as well as democratic indicators influence both participation and the impact of background on participation. In particular, we expect that in countries with higher inequality indexes the influence of students’ and school socioeconomic background on participation is stronger, reason why we pay special attention to Latin America, the region of the world with the high income inequality worldwide.

The present paper analyzes data from the International Civic and Citizenship Study 2009 (N=140,000, 38 countries). The main object of study is citizen participation, composed by two dimensions: present-future and civil-civic. Whereas civil participation refers to activities that involve interaction with the local communities, civic participation is conceived as related to formal institutions. Preliminary multilevel results show that the association between socioeconomic background and participation is strong and varies across countries, however shows different patterns depending on the kind of participation. Some country context dimension has an effect on the levels of participation. Comparison among regions will be discussed.