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Income, civic participation and achieving greater democracy


  • Levin-Waldman, Oren M.


Democratic society requires individuals to be autonomous, and those with greater resources are likely to enjoy greater autonomy. Democracy also assumes that individuals will participate in the affairs of their community, i.e. there will be civic engagement. But civic engagement may also be affected by individuals’ economic resources. Using data from Current Population Survey's Civic Participation file for 2008, this paper shows that individuals with higher incomes and/or from households with higher incomes will be more likely to be engaged in civic participation. While these findings are in lines with much of the existing literature on civic engagement, this paper uses these findings to make a speculative argument that to the extent that those with higher incomes are more likely to be civically engaged, it can then be inferred that a wage policy, which would enhance individual autonomy, might also result in greater civic engagement.

Suggested Citation

  • Levin-Waldman, Oren M., 2013. "Income, civic participation and achieving greater democracy," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 43(C), pages 83-92.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:soceco:v:43:y:2013:i:c:p:83-92 DOI: 10.1016/j.socec.2013.01.004

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. repec:cup:apsrev:v:96:y:2002:i:03:p:565-574_00 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Sidney Webb, 1912. "The Economic Theory of a Legal Minimum Wage," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 20, pages 973-973.
    3. repec:cup:apsrev:v:96:y:2002:i:02:p:351-365_00 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. repec:cup:apsrev:v:53:y:1959:i:01:p:69-105_00 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Oren Levin-Waldman, 2009. "The Broad Reach of the Minimum Wage," Challenge, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 52(5), pages 100-116.
    6. Dietlind Stolle & Marc Morjé Howard, 2008. "Civic Engagement and Civic Attitudes in Cross-National Perspective: Introduction to the Symposium," Political Studies, Political Studies Association, vol. 56, pages 1-11, March.
    7. repec:cup:apsrev:v:80:y:1986:i:01:p:17-43_18 is not listed on IDEAS
    8. Acemoglu,Daron & Robinson,James A., 2009. "Economic Origins of Dictatorship and Democracy," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521671422, March.
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    1. repec:spr:demogr:v:54:y:2017:i:6:d:10.1007_s13524-017-0627-6 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item


    Labor markets; Civic participation; Civic engagement; Democracy; Wage policy;

    JEL classification:

    • J08 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - General - - - Labor Economics Policies
    • J11 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Demographic Trends, Macroeconomic Effects, and Forecasts
    • J18 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Public Policy
    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials
    • J38 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Public Policy


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