Authoritarian leaders face a dilemma in choosing whether to fund higher education: risk promoting educated students who are more likely to protest, or increase human capital and promote economic growth? We argue that autocrats invest in higher education to gain the support of those in the middle and upper-classes when there is a large public sector. Panel data analysis confirms this hypothesis, but offers limited insight into why. We examine the Kazakh case to better understand the causal mechanisms at play. The evidence is strongly suggestive that higher education can be an important part of the authoritarian toolbox.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Sociology and Political Science