ESA Mid-Term Conference: Sociology of Education location:Ghent date:13-14 September 2012
Previous studies have distinguished cognitive, group conflict-based and network mechanisms in the effect of education on ethnocentrism. Hypotheses on these mediating mechanisms are derived from socialization theory, ethnic competition and contact theory. In the current study we use structural equation modeling to investigate simultaneously the effect of these three mechanisms. The analysis is based on a large population survey from the Netherlands (NELLS 2009, n=1,918). The results show that more than half of the initial effect of education can be attributed to cognitive ability and occupational status. The remaining part 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 tentatively suggests that the rise of average education levels in Western societies might lead to less ethnocentric attitudes via the cognitive sophistication mechanism.