Conditional effects of educational attainment on domestic terrorism
Lee, John (2016) Conditional effects of educational attainment on domestic terrorism. [Thesis]
This thesis develops and tests a theory about the impact of educational attainment on domestic terrorism. In particular, I formulate the following three propositions: (i) the directional effect of educational attainment on domestic terrorism depends on the base year; i.e., tertiary education will reduce terrorism, whereas primary/secondary education can increase it; (ii) educational attainment yields increasingly diminishing marginal returns; (iii) the impact of educational attainment depends on the political and economic conditions of the country. I derive hypotheses based on these propositions, and test them empirically by running a series of negative binomial regressions on a large panel of countries. Supporting the findings of Brockoff et al. (2015), my results indicate that tertiary attainment exerts a pacifying effect on levels of domestic terrorism in countries where political and economic conditions are favorable. In addition, my paper also extends the findings of Brockoff et al. (2015) in a few key ways. First, I show that among wealthy democratic countries, the relationship between tertiary attainment and domestic terrorism is better modeled by a quadratic specification; that is, at higher levels of tertiary attainment, additional gains yield increasingly diminishing returns. Second, I demonstrate that the pacifying effects of educational attainment do not require countries to have high economic development and robust democratic institutions. Instead, it appears as though the threshold for such pacifying effects is actually probably lower than the one implied by Brockoff et al. (2015).
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