The Education Dilemma: Favoring the In-Group or Assimilating the Out-Group? (with
Tuğba Bozçağa, Harvard University)”
Assist. Prof. Dr. Aslı Cansunar
Department of Political Science
University of Washington
Wednesday, April 7, 2021, 12:30 p.m.
Please contact to the department for the Zoom Meeting information details.
Education is a public service highly valued by citizens, allowing incumbent politicians to use it to reward their co-ethnics. However, nation-states have also used education to create loyal citizens, leaving politicians with a dilemma when deciding whether they should prioritize co-ethnics or other ethnic groups to allocate education services. We posit that politicians’ calculations on the benefits of targeting public goods at out-groups should be a function of whether distinct manifestations of politicized ethno-religiosity require the co-optation of out-groups for political stability. We use data on village-level public service infrastructure and an original dataset on the ethno-religious distribution of over 30,000 villages in Turkey. Our inferences rely on a difference-in-differences model. We reach two major empirical findings. First, we establish that the government started to invest more in primary schools in Kurdish villages after 1958, the year after which the Kurdish nationalists began to organize politically. Second, we find no evidence of ethnic favoritism when we compare the education investments in Turkish and Kurdish villages (a politically mobilized minority group)—and, if anything, the latter receives more investment in schools—while our results show that Alevi villages (a politically inactive minority group) have a significantly lower number of primary schools compared to Sunni Turkish villages.
Aslı Cansunar is a Post-Doctoral Research Fellow at Nuffield College and the Department of Political Science and International Relations at the University of Oxford. She holds a Ph.D. in Political Science (2018) and an MA in Economics (2014) from Duke University. Starting in 2021, she will be an Assistant Professor of Political Science at the University of Washington. Her work lies at the intersection of comparative political economy, comparative politics, and economic history, focusing on economic inequality’s political consequences. Her papers have been published or are forthcoming at the Journal of Politics, the Journal of Political Institutions and Political Economy, and West European Politics. Besides her research, she teaches courses on inequality, political methodology, and the political economy of Islam.