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Robert G. Moser, Chair BAT 2.116, Mailcode A1800, Austin, TX 78712 • 512-471-5121

Joanne Miller: Professor from the University of Minnesota

Thu, September 18, 2008 • 2:00 PM - 3:30 PM • Batts Hall 5.108

The question of why people choose to participate in politics is of fundamental importance in a democracy. As such, there is a long tradition of trying to answer it in political science. The most prominent models of political participation (SES, Rational Choice, Mobilization, and Civic Voluntarism) all provide answers to the question, “Why do people choose to participate in politics?” People become active when the costs are not so high as to trump the benefits. And the costs are less burdensome for people higher in SES, because they have the time, money, and civic skills necessary for participation. And people are more likely to participate in politics when they are asked to participate. However, these are only partial answers. The focus of these models on a cost/benefit analysis has resulted in an overemphasis on the ability dimension of participation at the expense of the motivation dimension. The current research begins to fill this conspicuous gap by testing the impact of an experimental manipulation of psychological motivations (specifically, national identity and partisan identity) on participation.

Sponsored by: Department of Government

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