Education and civic engagement: A comparative study of the benefits of post-compulsory education in England and Germany

Emma Salter, Angelika Kuemmerling, Rod Bond, Ricardo Sabates


This paper examines the role of different types of post-compulsory education in determining civic engagement (political interest and election participation) in England and Germany. The educational systems of England and Germany provide ideal comparators for investigating the social benefits of education, in particular those that accrue from vocational education. The paper uses two longitudinal panel surveys, the British Household Panel Survey and the German Socio-Economic Panel for empirical purposes. Contrary to our expectations, our findings revealed few differences between the two countries: the level of political interest is the same for youth who had a vocational degree as those without any further qualifications, in both England and Germany.  Similarly, greater levels of interest in politics were observed in adulthood for youth who had achieved academic qualifications in both countries. Likewise voting behaviour in particular was associated with the achievement of academic qualifications in Germany and to some extent with the achievement of mixed vocational and academic qualifications in England.


education; civic engagement; voting; politics; comparative; cross-national; longitudinal; panel

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