East Asia Workshop: Politics, Economy and Society

Jan 26, Yuhua Wang, “Do Colleges Breed Revolutionaries? Education and Political Engagement in China After Tiananmen”

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East Asia Workshop: Politics, Economy and Society presents

 

 “Do Colleges Breed Revolutionaries? Education and Political Engagement in China After Tiananmen”

 

Yuhua Wang

Assistant Professor, Department of Government

Harvard University

4:30-6:00p.m., Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Pick Lounge, 5828 South University Ave.

 

Abstract

Modernization theorists believe that education empowers citizens to take collective actions to challenge authoritarian rule. I present the first quasi-experimental evidence to test the microfoundations of this argument in a noncompetitive authoritarian regime. Exploiting China’s college expansion reform as a natural experiment, I report that higher education increases the overall level of political engagement. However, college education merely has a positive effect on people’s individualistic, expressive behavior, while having no effect on collective actions. China’s young intellectuals also do not differ from the less educated in a range of political attitudes, such as demand for political rights. They care more about local affairs and are more worried about socioeconomic issues, while revealing no particular concerns with broader political issues. I attribute the widespread political apathy among China’s college graduates to the 1989 Tiananmen Massacre and the heightened political control in Chinese universities after 1989.

 

Workshop website: http://cas.uchicago.edu/workshops/eastasia/

Student coordinator: Yan Xu (xuyan@uchicago.edu)

Faculty sponsors: Xi Song, Dali Yang and Dingxin Zhao

 

This presentation is sponsored by the Council on Advanced Studies in Humanities and Social Sciences and Center for East Asian Studies. Persons with disabilities who believe they may need assistance please contact the student coordinator in advance.

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