Are the Better Educated Less Likely to Support Militancy and Terrorism? Women Are

Author data: 
Madiha Afzal
Publication Date: 
August 2012
CISSM Working Paper
Civil Violence Project
Document Type: 
Working Papers

I use 2009 public opinion survey data from Pakistan to show that the relationship between education and support for terrorism varies by gender. Specifically: 1) as women become more educated, they are less likely to support militancy relative to similarly educated men, whereas uneducated women are more likely to support militancy relative to uneducated men, controlling for religiosity, demographics, region, and terrorist events in the district; 2) the effect of women’s education is driven by the years of schooling immediately preceding and following high school; 3) educated women have more negative views of the United States and are more likely to support terror attacks against the U.S. relative to educated men, and uneducated women have more positive views of the United States relative to uneducated men. I discuss possible omitted factors which could explain the results, and use the Altonji Elder Taber test to show that a causal explanation is plausible.