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Education and Civic Engagement

The belief that education increases civic engagement is one of several rationales provided for increased government involvement in education. Civic engagement generally refers to involvement in social and political life, with the goal of improving the quality of life in a society. Signs of civic engagement can include voting and other forms of political engagement, interpersonal trust, institutional trust, tolerance, and political knowledge. Proponents of this view argue that the public benefits of education in the form of the increased civic engagement associated with higher levels of education are generally ignored by individual decision makers, which leads to inefficient personal choices regarding educational attainment. This entry provides a conceptual overview of the potential links between education and civic engagement, summarizes the results of studies investigating ...

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