American Political Science Association edition:104 location:Boston date:28-31 August 2008
Evaluation studies on the effect of citizenship education remain rather rare in the political science literature. Although one can distinguish direct and indirect forms of civic education, and various programs of community service, thus far it remains a topic of debate which one of these forms can be considered as most effective. Sceptics have argued that the effect of civic education necessarily have to be limited, since parental influences and political interest can be seen as the main determinants for political knowledge or the intention to participate. In this paper we investigate the role of political interest in the relation between, on the one hand, civic education experiences, and on the other hand political knowledge and the intention to participate. Using the McGill Youth Survey (2006) our analysis confirms that political interest indeed is of crucial importance in explaining the dependent variables in our analysis. Path analysis, however, reveals that civic education experiences do have a significant impact, both directly, as indirectly, by strengthening political interest.