Education and political efficacy Publications
Education contributes to wider wellbeing than only individuals’ better work and earning prospects. This short report explores how education is related to political efficacy, using the indicator of agreeing or disagreeing with the statement:
People like me don’t have any say about what the government does.
Disagreeing with the statement indicates stronger political efficacy.
Author(s): Paul Satherley, Tertiary Sector Performance Analysis, Ministry of Education
Date Published: March 2022
The more educated people were, the more likely they were to believe that they had some say in what the government does. Nearly 60% of 25 to 64-year-olds with a post-graduate degree believed they had a say in government, compared to a third of those without any formal qualifications. Also, more educated people were progressively less likely to believe that they had no say about what the government does. Across all education levels, 45% believed they had at least some say in what the government does.
The association between education and political efficacy was very similar for women and men, and for younger and older people.
Participating OECD countries all had this positive association between education and political efficacy, though the size of the association was very variable between countries. Countries with relatively strong political efficacy tended to have a large difference in political efficacy between higher- and lower-educated people. New Zealand ranked sixth highest in political efficacy across the 30 participating countries.
The indicator of political efficacy is from the OECD’s Survey of Adult Skills which is part of the Programme for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies (PIAAC). New Zealand participated in 2014 and is participating in the next cycle in 2022/23 with results due in 2024.