The Impact of Country Characteristics on Civic Knowledge and Political Participation


  • Benjamin Tyler Leigh University of Pennsylvania



civic education, economic inequality, education, governance, political participation


Political participation scholars have argued for years over whether or not civic education has any effect on political participation, with no clear conclusion being drawn, despite a variety of analyses. These analyses tend to ignore the country characteristics and structural factors that influence the relationship between civic education and political participation. This article seeks to address the gap in the literature by using data from the International Civic and Citizen Study and other sources to show through quantitative analysis that country characteristics such as low economic development, stable state authority structures, and high inequality play a clear role in how effective civic education is in encouraging political participation. The article concludes by discussing limitations of the research and suggestions for future research.

Author Biography

Benjamin Tyler Leigh, University of Pennsylvania

B. Tyler Leigh, 24, from Atlanta, Georgia, USA, received Bachelor’s Degrees in International Affairs and African Political Development from the University of Georgia in 2016 and a Master’s Degree in Education Policies for Global Development from the Autonomous University of Barcelona in 2018. Tyler is a current PhD student in Political Science and Communications at the University of Pennsylvania. His research focuses on political participation and political socialization through the internet.




How to Cite

Leigh, B. T. (2018). The Impact of Country Characteristics on Civic Knowledge and Political Participation. Politikon: The IAPSS Journal of Political Science, 37, 6–18.



Research articles