Low education and indulgence in corruption


Author: Alberto Carlos Almeida *

Source: Valor Econômico, 06/09/2007

“A Cabeça do Brasileiro”, the book I just released, continues to raise controversy. The most recent concerns a criticism that states that people with higher education respond to the survey trying to please the interviewer. That is why only 25% of those with a college degree would agree with the phrase: "Each one should take care only of what is his and the government takes care of what is public." This proportion increases to 38% among those who have high school, 46% for those who attended between 5th and 8th grade, the same percentage for those who attended up to 4th grade and further increases, to 53%, among those who did not acquire any. formal schooling diploma. Whoever criticizes this ignores the following facts:

- There are other surveys that show the same. To quote the best known, Almond and Verba in “Civic Culture” and Alex Inkeles in “Becoming Modern” show an enormous correlation between modern / civic values ​​and schooling in the same direction as my book shows. In “Civic Culture” there are five countries and in “Becoming Modern” there are six, plus Brazil. That is, everyone must be wrong, everyone must have suffered the same problem. It is unlikely.

- Methodologically, one way to avoid this is to ask several questions that measure the same thing. That was done. What is measured is something like modernity, civism, republicanism. All of this is strongly correlated. Respondents will have to check each answer for one hour. More than that: all respondents in a social group will have to do this. It is also unlikely.

[Valor Econômico] Graph: Research, corruption and education

- As a corollary of the previous item, in the color prejudice part of “A Cabeça do Brasileiro” it was identified that the Brazilian is racist. Is this pleasing the interviewer? I doubt it. If it were, we would not have identified racism. Thus, in one part of the questionnaire, people with higher education responded by trying to please the interviewer and in another part, not the worst part, which dealt with racism. It is also quite unlikely.

- What is socially correct, to answer that taking the time in the queue is favor, way or corruption? Note that in our methodology, supposedly dominant values ​​were used. Thus, it is very difficult for the respondent to know what is socially desired or not. It was on purpose that we did so, to hinder the phenomenon of “pleasing the interviewer”. So, it is very difficult that this has happened.

- There is a lot of behavioral evidence that we can use when comparing high and low schooling. For example, institutional political movements such as amnesty, direct, impeachment of Collor were born with people of higher education. Low schooling adhered when patronage resources were used, such as free transportation, snacks, releasing metro ratchets and things like that. There are many examples of this nature.

- There is a strong correlation between income and education, between productivity and education, between level of information and education and so on. Why shouldn't there be this same correlation with civic values? Unlikely.

- The last argument. Let us admit that there was a phenomenon of “pleasing the interviewer” This means that at least for people with higher education these values ​​matter. For those with lower schooling, they are very far from such values ​​precisely because they did not answer the questionnaire trying to please the interviewer. That is, there is a real and important difference between these social groups.

* Alberto Carlos Almeida, Director of Planning at Ipsos Public Affairs and author of “A Cabeça do Brasileiro” (Record).