Dag van de Sociologie location:Utrecht date:24 May 2012
Previous studies have distinguished cognitive, network, group conflict-based and social desirability mechanisms in the effect of education on ethnocentrism. Hypotheses on these mediating mechanisms are derived from socialization theory, contact theory and ethnic competition theory. In the current study we use structural equation modeling to investigate simultaneously the effect of these four mechanisms. The analysis is based on a large population survey from the Netherlands (NELLS 2009, n=1,922). The results show that almost half of the initial effect of education can be attributed to cognitive skills and occupational prestige. More than half of the overall effect, however, still has to be modeled as a direct effect of education. This direct effect can be attributed, either to social desirability or to a direct education effect on attitudes. Our analysis suggests that the rise of average education levels in Western societies might lead to less ethnocentric attitudes via the cognitive sophistication mechanism.