New publication: “Access to education and political candidacy: Lessons from school openings in Sweden.”

The CONPOL team are pleased to announce a new publication in Economic of Education Review: “Access to education and political candidacy: Lessons from school openings in Sweden.” In this paper we examine how availability of education affects who becomes a political representative. Theorists have pointed out that access to education is a key to a well-functioning democracy, but few empirical studies have examined how changes in the access to education influence the chances of becoming a politician. In this paper, we analyze the effects of a large series of school openings in Sweden during the early 20th century, which provided adolescents with better access to secondary education. We use administrative data pertaining to the entire Swedish population born between 1916 and 1945. According to our empirical results, the opening of a new lower secondary school in a municipality increased the baseline probability of running for political office by 10–20%, and the probability of holding office by 20–30%.