“School’s out!” A Test of Education’s Turnout Raising Potential

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Charlotte Snelling


Youth turnout in the UK is falling despite young people representing arguably the most educated generation. This article examines education’s role in social sorting, contending that the positive impact of educational expansion on electoral participation is tempered by relative education concerns. Using the 2011 UK Citizens in Transition Survey, it argues that education affects turnout by determining young people’s positioning within social networks. Some of these networks are more politicised than others. Individuals with relatively lower educational status continue to be excluded from more politically engaged networks – irrespective of their educational attainment – and as such lack the mobilisation and greater sense of political efficacy required to vote.

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Author Biography

Charlotte Snelling, University of Edinburgh

Charlotte Snelling is a Researcher at the Institute for Public Policy Research. She has a PhD in Politics from the University of Edinburgh where her research was funded by the UK Economic and Social Research Council and focused on youth political participation in UK General Elections. This article was developed as part of research dur- ing the author’s PhD and does not reect the work of the Institute for Public Policy Research.