International Journal of Intercultural Relations vol:37 issue:5 pages:507-522
Dag van de Sociologie location:Utrecht date:24 May 2012
Previous studies have distinguished cognitive, occupational status and network mechanisms in the relation between education and ethnocentrism. Hypotheses on these mediating mechanisms are derived from socialization theory, realistic group threat and contact theory. In the current study we use structural equation modeling to investigate the explanatory power of these three mechanismssimultaneously. The analysis is based on a representative population survey from the Netherlands (NELLS 2009, n=1,910). The results show that more than half of the initial association between education and ethnocentrism can be attributed to cognitive abilityand occupational status mechanisms.The remaining part of the overall association, however, still has to be modeled as a direct relationship between education and ethnocentrism. This direct association can be attributed either to social desirability or to a direct liberalizing effect of education on social and political 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.