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Civic Education, Civil Society, and Political Mistrust in a Developing Democracy: The Case of the Dominican Republic

Authors
Journal
World Development
0305-750X
Publisher
Elsevier
Publication Date
Volume
28
Issue
11
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1016/s0305-750x(00)00067-x
Keywords
  • Latin America
  • Dominican Republic
  • Democracy
  • Civic Education
  • Trust
  • Civil Society
Disciplines
  • Education
  • Political Science

Abstract

Abstract The paper explores the effect of donor-supported civic education programs on levels of citizen trust in institutions in the Dominican Republic. Using attitudinal surveys of control and treatment groups the paper demonstrates that civic education had a direct, negative effect on participants’ levels of institutional trust, with the greatest negative effects on trust in governmental bodies such as the army and the judicial system. The paper argues that this stems from the type of groups that conduct civic education in democratizing countries, many of which are not politically or socially neutral. The paper concludes with a discussion of these findings for theories of democracy and civil society and for donor-supported civic education programs.

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