NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

Does Secular Education Impact Religiosity, Electoral Participation and the Propensity to Vote for Islamic Parties? Evidence from an Education Reform in a Muslim Country

Resul Cesur, Naci H. Mocan

NBER Working Paper No. 19769
Issued in December 2013
NBER Program(s):   CH   HE   LE   ED

Turkey, which is a predominantly Muslim country, enacted an education law in 1997 which increased the compulsory secular education from five to eight years. We employ a unique nation-wide survey of adults in 2012 to investigate the impact of education on religiosity, lifestyles and political preferences by using exposure to the law as an instrument for schooling. The data set includes information about the extent of religiosity, lifestyle choices (e.g. modern, conservative, religious), ethnic background (e.g. Kurd, Turk, Arab) and the religious sect of the respondents (Sunni, Alevite Shii’te, etc.) The results show that the reform had a significant impact on middle school completion for both men and women, with stronger effects on women. An increase in education, generated by exposure to the law, decreases women’s propensity to identify themselves as religious. Education also lowers women’s tendency to wear a religious head cover (head scarf, religious turban or burka) and it increases their propensity to have a modern lifestyle. Education reduces women’s propensity to cast a vote for Islamic parties, but it has no impact on the propensity to vote. Education has no statistically significant impact on men’s religiosity or their tendency to vote for Islamic parties. The results are robust to controlling for indicators of individuals’ economic well-being as well as variations in empirical specification of the treatment by the law. Using a smaller version of the survey, conducted in 2008, we perform a variety of tests, which demonstrate that the results are not due to a cohort effect. Finally, we show that the effect of education on religiosity and voting preference is not working through migration, residential location or labor force participation.

The NBER Bulletin on Aging and Health provides summaries of publications like this.  You can sign up to receive the NBER Bulletin on Aging and Health by email.

You may purchase this paper on-line in .pdf format from SSRN.com ($5) for electronic delivery.

Information about Free Papers

You should expect a free download if you are a subscriber, a corporate associate of the NBER, a journalist, an employee of the U.S. federal government with a ".GOV" domain name, or a resident of nearly any developing country or transition economy.

If you usually get free papers at work/university but do not at home, you can either connect to your work VPN or proxy (if any) or elect to have a link to the paper emailed to your work email address below. The email address must be connected to a subscribing college, university, or other subscribing institution. Gmail and other free email addresses will not have access.

E-mail:

Acknowledgments

Machine-readable bibliographic record - MARC, RIS, BibTeX

 
Publications
Activities
Meetings
Data
People
About

Support
National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 02138; 617-868-3900; email: info@nber.org

Contact Us