The Long-Lasting Effects of Citizenship Education Subjects

With Carol Galais

Both policymakers and scholars disagree about the effects and suitability of citizenship education standalone courses. Extant evidence about its effects is mixed and inconclusive. In this paper we exploit the discontinuities generated by changes in Spanish education policies to identify the long-term effects of a civic education standalone compulsory subject on a set of outputs commonly set as the policy goals of civic education: political engagement, institutional support, and political values. In 2007, a new standalone citizenship education subject was introduced in the Spanish school curricula. This subject was then progressively removed from the curricula until its disappearance in 2017. These changes gave rise to exogenous variation in exposure to civic education between young individuals born in different years. We exploit these policy changes to identify the effects of citizenship education through a regression discontinuity design that draws on a 12-wave panel survey. Our results point to the emergence of a generation of critical—yet passive—citizens as a result of the implementation of a standalone citizenship education subject in Spanish schools.

%d bloggers like this: