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Nicole Martin (University of Manchester)

3 October 2023 @ 16:00 - 17:00


  • Past event


3 October 2023
16:00 - 17:00
Event Category:
Academic Events

Highly educated nationalists: Did incentivising university study in Scotland change the attitudes of Scottish graduates?

Abstract. The political consequences of education are receiving increased scholarly attention. But it is often difficult to separate out the effects of university education from other changes which happen at the same time, including moving to a different city and obtaining a new peer group. This paper looks at Scottish graduates in the period before and after a significant funding reform that greatly disincentivised Scottish students from attending university in England. In 2012-13, fees at English universities were greatly increased and at the same time, Scottish government support for paying tuition fees was restricted to Scottish universities only, causing fewer Scottish students to attend university in England. Using difference-in-differences, we estimate the effects of the reform on political attitudes in Scotland. Our results suggest that the reforms increased Scottish identity and decreased British identity in Scotland; and lead to less pro-immigration attitudes among Scottish graduates. We go beyond existing literature by studying the effects of education within a highly educated group, suggesting that it is not only the level of education that matters, but the broader context. We argue that this reform can help us understand the dynamics of Scottish electoral politics, including any future independence referendum, and the role of education in reshaping political conflict more broadly.

Joint with Roland Kappe.