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Project Deep Dive: Anja Neundorf
19th February 4:00 PM – 5:30 PM GMT
(When) Does civic education work? Evidence from a cross-national online experiment (with Aykut Öztürk, Steven Finkel, and Ericka Rascon Ramirez)
Civic education is an important effort in strengthening the resilience of existing and new democracies. However, little is known about 1) whether these programs can be conducted online (instead of traditionally in-person), 2) what is the best frame to promote democracy, and 3) whether there are contextual differences in the impact of these interventions. Our project aims to answer these questions through online experiments, which were conducted in 33 countries, representing varying levels of democratic and economic development. Over 40,000 respondents were recruited via social media and were randomly shown one of three treatment videos, promoting different aspects of democracy (civic rights, separation of power, provision of economic and public goods) or a placebo treatment. Our results show that the treatments positively affected support for democracy and that the effect can still be detected after two weeks. However, contrary to expectations, the political and economic context of respondents does not condition the impact of our interventions. Our study is the most comprehensive study ever conducted in the field of civic education, allowing us to explore how democracy promotion works in different countries.
Anja Neundorf is a professor of Politics and Research Methods at the University of Glasgow. Before joining Glasgow, she worked as an Associate Professor at the University of Nottingham (2013-2019) and a Postdoctoral Prize Research Fellow at Nuffield College, University of Oxford (2010-2012). She received her PhD from the University of Essex. Her research interests lie at the intersection of political behaviour, research methods, and comparative politics. She is currently the principal investigator of the ERC-funded Consolidator Grant “Democracy under Threat: How Education can Save it”.