Lifelong Learning, Equality and Social CohesionPresentation at LLAKES Conference on ‘Lifelong Learning, Crisis and Social Change’Senate House, London, 18th and 19th October 2012 Andy Green Director of ESRC-LLAKES Centre
Structure of Presentation 1. Social benefits of education at different levels - to individuals • to communities (social capital) • to society (social cohesion) 2. Pathways for social effects of learning 3. The problem of educational inequality 4. Regimes of Social Cohesion, the Crisis and Education • What holds different societies together? • Recent trends and vulnerabilities in each regime
Individual Level Effects Studies for various countries demonstrate that more educated people tend to show higher levels of : • Social and political trust • Civic and political engagement • Democratic values • Tolerance and lower levels of violent crime. (Nie et al., 1996; Stubager, 2008; Hagendoorn, 1999; Emler and Frazer, 1999; Putnam, 2000). (Nie et al., 1996; Stubager, 2008; Hagendoorn, 1999; Emler and Frazer, 1999; Putnam, 2000; McMahon, 1999).
Some Findings from Analyses of UK Longitudinal Data (Feinstein et al., 2003). Compared with those educated to level 2 graduates are: • 70-80% more likely to report excellent health • 55% less likely to suffer depression (males) • 3.5 times more likely to be a member of a voluntary association (Males: F= 2.5 x) • 30% and 40% more likely to hold positive attitudes to race and gender equality • 50% more likely to vote.
Education and Social Capital: Benefits to Communities Education is also found to contribute to the social capital of groups and communities where SC is defined as ‘features of social life – networks, norms and trust – that enable to participants to act together more effectively to pursue shared objectives’ (Putnam, 2006). Putnam (2000) finds that more educed people are more likely to join Associations’ make charitable donations and be politically engaged. Repeated interactions in groups increases levels of trust and tolerance. • Individuals thus benefit from enhanced networks • Neighbourhoods benefits from more co-operation and cohesion etc
Education and Social Cohesion Social capital amongst individuals, families and local communities is not the same thing as social cohesion at the country level. Intra-group bonding does not always translate into inter-group harmony. A country can have high levels of social capital in particular communities but not be at all socially cohesive (eg Northern Ireland would be a good example : see Schuller, Field et al, 2000). It follows that: Individual social benefits through increased learning do not necessarily translate into societal effects or coincide with increased social cohesion.
LLAKES Research on Macro-Social Benefits In our early research (Green, Preston and Janmaat, 2006) we found that relationships pertaining at the individual level in some countries disappear in macro-level, cross-country analysis. • Social capital theorists argue that trust, civic engagement and tolerance go together at the individual level. However, they don’t co-vary across countries. • Education enhances trust, tolerance and associational activity among individuals (in some countries). However, we found no relation across countries between adult skills and levels of trust, civic engagement and tolerance.
The Paradox of Levels There are a number of reasons for this. • The individual level effects are ‘relative’ or ‘positional’ ie one person’s social gain through improved learning outcomes will be another’s loss through relatively diminished skills. • Other determininng factors at the national level overwhelm the statistical relation between education and social outcomes. • Contexts: effects at the societal level are often indirect - ie they work through other factors which differ between societies.
LLAKES Research on LLL Social Benefits • Uses mixed method multi-level approaches to understand relationships at different levels • Draws on a range of different disciplines to understand the different mediating national contexts (labour market organisation; welfare systems etc) • Examines both direct and indirect effects
Direct Effects Mediated by Contexts Education can have direct effects on social outcomes, it is argued, through raising cognitive abilities and through socialisation into particular sets of values and identities. However, many of the direct effects are highly influenced by (national) contexts.
Tolerance Research for a number of countries shows that more educated people are more tolerant (eg Putnam, 2000). It is argued that education can develop both cognitive resources and values which protect against racial prejudice (Hagendorn, 1999). However, there is no clear-cut relationship across countries between levels of education and tolerance (Green, Preston and Janmaat, 2006) because other contexts, like the political climate, vary and mediate the relationships. Halman’s analysis (1994) of Eurobaromter data suggest that levels of tolerance in EU countries vary according to the actual and perceived proportion of immigrants. Jasinska-Kania analysis of EVS data (1999) shows that the impact of education on racial tolerance is greater in countries with higher levels of immigrants (perhaps because there are more circumstantially-driven racist attitudes that can be countered by education).
Contextual Effects on Civic Participation Various studies (eg Emler and Fraser, 1999) have shown a strong relationship at the individual level between civic knowledge and civic activity. However, this relationship does not necessarily hold at a national level. The IEA Civic Education study of 14-year olds in 28 countries (Torney-Purta et al, 2001) found that levels of civic knowledge were relatively high in Finland, Norway, Poland, Slovak Republic and Czech Republic. The context of the political changes occurring in the transition countries no doubt contributed in the case of CEE countries. Nordic countries scored low in support for different forms of political participation and the Czech Republic low in support for non-conventional forms of civic engagement. The Slovak Republic scored in high civic knowledge, but low in support for rights for women and ethnic minorities (like Bulgaria, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania).
Contextual Effects on Education and Crime McMahon (1999) used time lagged analysis of data for 78 countries (1956- 1995) and found that rising rates of secondary education were associated with decreasing levels of violent crime. Other contextual Factors are also important, however. Junger-Tas (2000) finds that in countries such as England and Germany father absence was associated with higher delinquency, but not on Nordic countries. This is possibly due to different welfare arrangements between countries whereby single parent families receive more support in Nordic states. Similarly, whereas there was a relation between large peer groups and delinquency in some countries, this was not the case in southern Europe where, arguably, these are more common.
Positional Effects of Education on Political Engagement Robert Nie et al. (2006), using OLS regression analysis on US time series data, find that education has some absolute effects on political engagement but the relative or ‘positional’ effects are stronger. More educated people have more opportunity to achieve ‘network centrality’ giving access to politicians, thus giving individuals an incentive to participate. However, network centrality is a ‘zero-sum’ property - the gains for one individual will entail losses for others. Thus while average education levels may be getting higher in North America this does not necessarily lead to higher level of political engagement.
Learning effects on social capital (joining, volunteering and engagement) Learning Joining volunteering civic engagement Cognitive resources (knowledge, skills etc) Adapted from R. Nie Status Network centrality
Which Effects are Absolute rather than Positional? If individual social effects from learning are ‘absolute’ they are likely to aggregate into societal effects. If the are ‘relative’ or ‘positional’ they may not do so. Recent research shows positional effects for a range of social outcomes. • voter turnout (Burden, 2009; Tenn, 2007) • political sophistication (Highton, 2009) • democratic citizenship (Persson and Oscarsson, 2010).
Indirect Effects Much of the influence that education has on social outcomes is indirect – it works through something else. LLAKES research suggests that often the most powerful effects on social cohesion are distributional – they depend on how the distribution of skills affects the distribution of incomes and social status. What matters most for social cohesion is less how much education a country has, but how it is spread around.
Correlations between Adult Skills Distribution and Trust We measured skills inequality using IALS cross- country data on adult numerical skills, using the ‘test score ratio method’ Trust in other people is based on World Values Survey Data.
Inequality and Trust Countries with more equal skills distributions have higher levels of trust. This probably works partly through the effects of skills distribution on income distribution, but the correlation exists independently of income distribution. If the relationship is causal , it probably works both ways. • Greater inequality of skills and incomes produces stress through creating high-stakes competition which reduces the capacity to trust in others. • Inequalities in levels of education and skill increases CULTURAL DISTANCE between individuals and groups and makes trusting more difficult.
Over Time Analysis Using time series data on education inequality, income inequality and social cohesion measures over time (1960-1990) for industrialised countries. • Measure of educational inequality: Education Gini based computed from data on highest level of education • Measure of unrest comprising riots, strikes and demonstrations. • Measure of civil liberties based on freedom house scale.
Relationships • Education inequality highly correlated with unrest but the relationship is non-linear. As education inequality rises ‘unrest‘ first drops slightly and then rises sharply. • Educational inequality is generally negatively related to civil liberties but the relationship is again non-linear. As education inequalities rise, civil liberties first decline, then rise and then drop sharply.
Education Systems Properties and Civic Competences Janmaat’s multi-level analysis of Cived data explored the effect of different system and classroom characteristics on Civic competences. Compared with comprehensive systems, selective education systems have: • higher levels of social segregation across classrooms; • greater disparities in civic knowledge and skills; • larger peer effects on civic knowledge and skills - meaning that the latter are strongly affected by the social backgrounds and achievement levels of other students in the class. (Janmaat , 2011).
Classroom Diversity and Values Students who spend longer in mixed-ability classes are more likely to share basic values in areas such as tolerance and patriotism, regardless of their social own ethnic group (Janmaat & Mons 2011). Ethnic diversity in the classroom seems to promote tolerance in some countries, but not in all. In Germany and Sweden, native majority students tend to be more tolerant when in ethnically diverse classrooms. In England, no such relationship was found. Furthermore, in English classrooms white students were less tolerant the better their minority ethnic peers performed in terms of civic knowledge and skills. This may again be related status and competition anxiety.
Macro Social Benefits Less Likely in Unequal Education Systems LLL seems to be more successful in promoting social cohesion in countries with more equal educational outcomes. • Nordic and East Asian countries tend to have relatively equal outcomes • ‘Liberal’ and ‘Social market’ countries tend to have rather unequal outcomes.
Adult Learning Not Mitigating Skills Inequalities in UK • In Britain the well educated participate 1.6 times as much as the average person and the poorly educated participate only 0.3 times as much. • In Canada, Denmark, Finland, Germany, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden and the United States, the participation rates of both the high and low education groups are closer to the national mean (OECD, 2005 based on LFS data). • In Britain the unemployed and inactive participate less than the national average. • In Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain and Sweden the unemployed have higher participation rates than the employed.
Regimes of Social Cohesion Historical and contemporary evidence suggests that countries ‘hold together’ in different ways. • Different historical traditions of thought on social cohesion in different parts of the world. • Different institutional arrangements support social cohesion.
Liberal Discourses Liberal discourses tend to play down: • The role of the state (in welfare and redistribution) • Equality • Shared values and identities (other than ‘core values’) Emphasise importance of: • Active civil society – at local level • Opportunity and individual liberty (‘core values’) • Tolerance
Republican Discourses Republican discourses emphasise the state rather than civil society. The state is seen to underpin social cohesion through: • Providing welfare and social protection • Redistribution • Supervising conflict-mediating social partnership institutions • Promoting shared values and common national identity. Different currents in republican thought variously stress equality of opportunity or equality of outcomes as important pre-conditions for social cohesion, but their role in social cohesion is often largely symbolic.
Social Democratic Discourse The social democratic discourse follows the republican discourse in most of its essentials, except that here the stress on equality is more profound. • Like republican theory social democratic theory emphasises both the role of the state and that of autonomous but state- sanctioned national civil society organisations • Equality is seen as pre-condition of social solidarity. • Common identity is highly valued.
Recent Research Our recent research in LLAKES uses a wide range of measures to test whether these different regimes can be identified in contemporary societies. The data: • Data on social attitudes from international surveys (such as WVS and ISSP) • International administrative data
Results The statistical analysis uses : • Correlations and scatter plots • Cluster analysis • Factor Analysis • Composite indicators and indexes. Different regimes of social cohesion can be readily identified. On all the tests countries and their social cohesion characteristics cluster very much as the theory would suggest.
Current Vulnerabilities in Each Regime Each regime of social cohesion is currently vulnerable at the points most essential to its model. • The Republican Regime has traditionally relied on widely shared common values. This is increasingly challenged by cultural diversity. • The Social Democratic Regime relies heavily on its universalist welfare state. This is challenged by globalisation and immigration. • The Liberal Regime relies on opportunity and the belief in meritocratic rewards to hold the together. This is challenged by rising inequality and declining social mobility (in UK and the US) particularly.
UK: The Atrophy of Core Beliefs in Meritocracy Traditionally people in Britain are relatively tolerant of inequality. But there is a large and probably growing gap between people’s high expectations of meritocracy and what they perceive to be the case. Like people in Nordic Countries people are much more likely than in most countries to say that effort rather than need should determine pay. But they are much less likely to perceive that opportunities are in fact equal.