The Effect of Language at School on Identity and Political Outlooks
Title: The Effect of Language at School on Identity and Political Outlooks
Publisher: European University Institute
Series/Report no.: EUI MWP; 2008/36
The process of individual identity formation is still an enigma, as it is the capacity of public bodies to intervene in it. In 1983 the Catalan education system became bilingual, and Catalan, together with Spanish, was taught in schools. Using survey data from Catalonia and exploiting within- and between-cohort variation in exposure to the Catalan language at school, results show that individuals who have experienced greater exposure to teaching in Catalan are more likely to say that they feel more Catalan than Spanish. Interestingly, the effect appears to also be present among individuals whose parents do not have Catalan origins. In addition, the reform affects actions too, as individuals exposed to more teaching in Catalan are more likely to vote in regional elections and vote for Catalan regionalist parties. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first paper to analyze empirically how policies affect individual identity.
Subject: Identity; Language; Education; Voting
Type of Access: openAccess