EdPolicyWorks Seminar Series


Speaker: John Holbein

Logistics: Monday, March 2nd from 12:00 - 1:30pm in Bavaro Hall, Holloway Hall (Rm 116)

Title: National ServiceSubstantially Increases Dismal Rates of Youth Civic Participation: Evidencefrom Teach for America

Abstract: The United States hasone of the, if not the, lowest rates of youth political participation in theworld. Low, and by some accounts declining, rates of citizen engagementthreaten to undercut the social capital that holds communities together andundermine the basic pillars of democracy. However, little is known about how toaddress dismal rates of youth civic participation. In this paper, we examinethe causal effect of a recently proposed large-scale solution: nationalservice. Leveraging a large scale sample of young people matched to nationwidevoter files and a unique natural experiment, we explore the causal effect ofadmittance and participation in Teach For America---a prominent nationalservice program that integrates college graduates into low-income schools fortwo years. We find that Teach For America has a large and a long-lasting effecton youth political participation---substantially increasing the voting andparty joining of participants. Our results show that national service programshave a great potential to help ameliorate narrow the stubborn gap between youngand older citizens in the United States.

Bio: John B. Holbein is an Assistant Professor of Public Policyat the Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy at the University ofVirginia. He also has a courtesy appointment in the Curry School of Educationand Human Development. He studies political participation, politicalinequality, democratic accountability, political representation, and educationpolicy. His work has been published in the American Political Science Review,the American Journal of Political Science, the Journal of Politics, the Journalof Public Administration Research and Theory, the Economics of EducationReview, and Nature Human Behavior (to name a few). His research has beensupported by two large National Science Foundation grants. His book--MakingYoung Voters: Converting Civic Attitudes into Civic Action--is forthcoming atCambridge University Press. His work has been covered by outlets such as theWashington Post, Vox, New York Magazine, the Boston Globe, NPR, Bloomberg,Politico, Fast Company, Salon, Business Insider, the 74, VoxEu, andFiveThirtyEight.