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Working Paper

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We investigate how the link between individual schooling and political participation is a ected by country characteristics which determine the relative productivity of human capital in political versus production activities. In our model, individuals face an e ort-allocation decision over the use of their human capital. Focusing on the role played by country factor endowments, we show that the abundance of a factor that is used in the least (respectively most) human capital-intensive sector will increase (respectively decrease) both: (i) the level of individual political participation; and (ii) the responsiveness of individual political participation to increases in human capital. We provide empirical evidence for these predictions by showing that the interaction of individual-level data on schooling with country-level measures of factor endowments helps to explain patterns of individual political participation (from the World Values Survey). Our model further allows us to derive predictions regarding the level of human capital that would be chosen by a utilitymaximizing ruler who anticipates the e ort-allocation decisions of his citizens: The abundance of any factor endowment that is used intensively in the least human capital-intensive sectors will tend to increase political participation ex post, and hence will lead the ruler to discourage human capital accumulation. We nd broad empirical support for this in the cross-country data. Our model thus o ers a framework which jointly explains patterns of individual political participation, as well as country di erences in levels of public investment in education.


Education; Human capital; Political participation; Voting; Factor endowments; Culture; State provision of schooling



Research Areas

International Economics

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

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