What is the relationship between regime type and educational opportunity? Do wealthier countries always produce better educational outcomes? Challenging a recent consensus about the straightforward positive impact of democracy on education, I argue that the wealth of the economy and its distribution among social classes interact with political regimes to produce different types of education policies and outcomes; such outcomes also depend on the ideological orientation of the dictatorship. I formalize this account with a model of class-based decision-making under different regime types, and constructed a new cross-national data set on educational outcomes and regime ideology to test the model. In an empirical analysis on educational expansion in the world during the post-war period, the statistical results tend to confirm the theoretical results of the model. I also discuss qualitative evidence from case analyses to show the mechanisms within the policy realm of hypotheses. The results have implications for our understanding of the impact of regime type on public goods provision.
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