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Strength in Numbers: Group Size and Political Mobilization

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  • Oberholzer-Gee, Felix
  • Waldfogel, Joel

Abstract

An important result in interest group theory and political economy is that small groups are more influential than their size would lead us to expect. In this study, we document that the opposite holds for political mobilization. Citizens are more likely to participate in elections if they belong to large groups. We present evidence that both the absolute size of groups and their population share influence individual participation decisions. The link between group size and political mobilization is in part due to the structure of media markets. Candidates find it easier to direct campaign messages at larger groups because many existing media outlets cater to them.

Suggested Citation

  • Oberholzer-Gee, Felix & Waldfogel, Joel, 2005. "Strength in Numbers: Group Size and Political Mobilization," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 48(1), pages 73-91, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:ucp:jlawec:y:2005:v:48:i:1:p:73-91
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    File URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1086/428717
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Alessandro Olper & Johan Swinnen, 2013. "Mass Media and Public Policy: Global Evidence from Agricultural Policies," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 27(3), pages 413-436.
    2. Sam Schulhofer-Wohl & Miguel Garrido, 2013. "Do Newspapers Matter? Short-Run and Long-Run Evidence From the Closure of The Cincinnati Post," Journal of Media Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 26(2), pages 60-81, June.
    3. Ryan C. McDevitt & James W. Roberts, 2014. "Market structure and gender disparity in health care: preferences, competition, and quality of care," RAND Journal of Economics, RAND Corporation, vol. 45(1), pages 116-139, March.
    4. Shertzer, Allison, 2016. "Immigrant group size and political mobilization: Evidence from European migration to the United States," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 139(C), pages 1-12.
    5. John Gilbert & Reza Oladi, 2012. "Net campaign contributions, agricultural interests, and votes on liberalizing trade with China," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 150(3), pages 745-769, March.
    6. Serguei Kaniovski & Dennis Mueller, 2006. "Community size, heterogeneity and voter turnouts," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 129(3), pages 399-415, December.
    7. Lisa M. George & Joel Waldfogel, 2006. "The New York Times and the Market for Local Newspapers," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(1), pages 435-447, March.
    8. Fernando Ferreira & Joel Waldfogel, 2010. "Pop Internationalism: Has A Half Century of World Music Trade Displaced Local Culture?," NBER Working Papers 15964, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    9. Isabel-María García-Sánchez & Beatriz Cuadrado-Ballesteros & José-Valeriano Frías-Aceituno, 2016. "Does media freedom improve government effectiveness? A comparative cross-country analysis," European Journal of Law and Economics, Springer, vol. 42(3), pages 515-537, December.
    10. Sobbrio, Francesco & Navarra, Pietro, 2010. "Electoral participation and communicative voting in Europe," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 26(2), pages 185-207, June.
    11. Pande, Rohini, 2008. "Understanding Political Corruption in Low Income Countries," Handbook of Development Economics, Elsevier.
    12. Ignacio Lago & Sandra Bermúdez & Marc Guinjoan & Pablo Simón, 2014. "Turnout and fractionalization," Working Papers. Collection A: Public economics, governance and decentralization 1404, Universidade de Vigo, GEN - Governance and Economics research Network.
    13. Halberstam, Yosh & Knight, Brian, 2016. "Homophily, group size, and the diffusion of political information in social networks: Evidence from Twitter," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 143(C), pages 73-88.
    14. Felix Oberholzer-Gee & Joel Waldfogel, 2009. "Media Markets and Localism: Does Local News en Español Boost Hispanic Voter Turnout?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 99(5), pages 2120-2128, December.
    15. Mosier, Samantha L. & Thilmany, Dawn, 2016. "Diffusion of food policy in the U.S.: The case of organic certification," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 61(C), pages 80-91.
    16. C. Bush & Paul Zimmerman, 2010. "Media Mergers with Preference Externalities and Their Implications for Content Diversity, Consumer Welfare, and Policy," Journal of Industry, Competition and Trade, Springer, vol. 10(2), pages 105-133, June.
    17. Kim, Iljoong & Kim, Inbae, 2008. "Interest group pressure explanations for the yen-dollar exchange rate movements: Focusing on the 1980s," Journal of the Japanese and International Economies, Elsevier, vol. 22(3), pages 364-382, September.

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