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Good bye Chiang Kai-shek? The long-lasting effects of education under the authoritarian regime in Taiwan

Yu Bai and Yanjun Li

Economics of Education Review, 2020, vol. 78, issue C

Abstract: Does experiencing an authoritarian regime at an early age have long-lasting effects on people’s political outcomes through an educational channel? This paper aims to explore this causality by employing an example from Taiwan. After the former leader Chiang Ching-kuo lifted martial law in 1987, Taiwan ended the authoritarian regime and began democratization. During that period, the Ministry of Education removed the major part of ideological content rapidly in primary and secondary schools. Exploiting this historical event, we utilize cut-off birth dates for school enrollment that lead to variation in the length of exposure to the authoritarian education system from 1979 to 1987 within the same birth cohort. Based on around 2,000 observations from the Taiwan Social Change Survey (TSCS), we find that one additional academic year of exposure to authoritarian education during youth decreases political participation, increases the likelihood to support and vote for the KMT party, and drops the probability of self-declared Taiwanese identity rather than Chinese in later life. Our results persist after ruling out alternative interpretations and are robust to different sensitivity tests.

Keywords: Education; Authoritarian regime; Political attitudes; The long-term effects; Contemporary economic history; Taiwan (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: I20 N4 P16 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2020
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DOI: 10.1016/j.econedurev.2020.102044

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