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It’s the weather, stupid! Individual participation in collective May Day demonstrations

  • Peter Kurrild-Klitgaard


We investigate the possible explanations for variations in aggregate levels of participation in large-scale political demonstrations. A simple public choice inspired model is applied to data derived from the annual May Day demonstrations of the Danish labor movement and socialist parties taking place in Copenhagen in the period 1980–2011. The most important explanatory variables are variations in the weather conditions and consumer confidence, while political and socio-economic conditions exhibit no robust effects. As such accidental or non-political factors may be much more important for collective political action than usually acknowledged and possibly make changes in aggregate levels of political support seem erratic and unpredictable. Copyright Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2013

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Article provided by Springer in its journal Public Choice.

Volume (Year): 155 (2013)
Issue (Month): 3 (June)
Pages: 251-271

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Handle: RePEc:kap:pubcho:v:155:y:2013:i:3:p:251-271
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  1. Gordon Tullock, 1971. "The paradox of revolution," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 11(1), pages 89-99, September.
  2. Timur Kuran, 1989. "Sparks and prairie fires: A theory of unanticipated political revolution," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 61(1), pages 41-74, April.
  3. Leeson, Peter T., 2010. "Rational choice, Round Robin, and rebellion: An institutional solution to the problems of revolution," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 73(3), pages 297-307, March.
  4. Matsusaka, John G & Palda, Filip, 1999. " Voter Turnout: How Much Can We Explain?," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 98(3-4), pages 431-46, March.
  5. Merrifield, John, 1993. " The Institutional and Political Factors That Influence Voter Turnout," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 77(3), pages 657-67, November.
  6. repec:cup:cbooks:9780521894753 is not listed on IDEAS
  7. Knack, Steve, 1994. " Does Rain Help the Republicans? Theory and Evidence on Turnout and the Vote," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 79(1-2), pages 187-209, April.
  8. Anthony Downs, 1957. "An Economic Theory of Political Action in a Democracy," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 65, pages 135.
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