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Lecture: Public Opinion on Education Policies Across Europe: New insights

When: 28.09.2017, at 16:00-17:30
Place: Tallinna Ülikool, M-218

Marius R. Busemeyer, a Full Professor of Political Science at the University of Konstanz, Germany, gives a public lecture at Tallinn University on 28 September at 4 pm.

Public opinion research has found that increasing the investment in education is generally very popular among citizens in Western Europe. However, this evidence from publicly available opinion surveys may be misleading, because these surveys do not force respondents to prioritize between different parts of the education system or between education and other social policies, nor do they provide information about citizens’ willingness to pay for additional investment in education. To address these deficiencies, we conducted an original, representative survey of public opinion on education and related policies in eight European countries.

Our analysis confirms that citizens express high levels of support for education even when they are forced to choose between education and other areas of social spending. But not all educational sectors enjoy equally high levels of support: increasing spending on general schooling and vocational education is more popular than increasing spending on higher education and early childhood education.

Furthermore, we find that citizens are, in fact, willing to pay additional taxes in order to finance investment in education, at least in some countries and for some sectors of the education system. Finally, when forced to acknowlegde the existence of fiscal and political trade-offs, we find that self-interest more narrowly defined as belonging to particular welfare state clientel groups becomes a more important determinants of policy preferences compared to ideology and socio-economic background.

Marius R. Busemeyer is a Full Professor of Political Science at the University of Konstanz, Germany. His research focuses on comparative political economy and welfare state research, education and social policy, public spending, theories of institutional change and, more recently, public opinion on the welfare state. Busemeyer studied political science, economics, public administration and public law at University of Heidelberg and the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. He holds a doctorate in political science from the University of Heidelberg.

Busemeyer has been appointed member of the Young Academy of Europe.

Everybody is welcome to hear the lecture.