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Patterns of participation: Political and social participation in 22 nations

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  • Newton, Kenneth
  • Giebler, Heiko

Abstract

Many studies show that political participation at the individual level is fragmented, multidimensional and non-cumulative, but comparison of 22 nations in Europe shows that different kinds of social and political participation at the country level are cumulative, unidimensional. The result is a set of country families of participation. Since these generally correspond with the country families found in studies of public policy, it raises the possibility of still higher-level generalizations covering an even broader range of social, economic, and political country characteristics. Finally, this study explores various theories explaining country patterns and families of participation and concludes that this is best done by a reference to a single syndrome of country characteristics covering democratic and economic development, government effectiveness, low corruption, high public expenditure on public personal services, and the rule of law. These factors seem to act as a mutually reinforcing system of cause and effects that are closely associated with country levels of participation of many different kinds.

Suggested Citation

  • Newton, Kenneth & Giebler, Heiko, 2008. "Patterns of participation: Political and social participation in 22 nations," Discussion Papers, Research Unit: Democracy and Democratization SP IV 2008-201, Social Science Research Center Berlin (WZB).
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:wzbdsc:spiv2008201
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    1. Delhey, Jan & Newton, Kenneth, 2004. "Social trust: Global pattern or nordic exceptionalism?," Discussion Papers, Research Unit: Inequality and Social Integration SP I 2004-202, Social Science Research Center Berlin (WZB).
    2. Kitschelt, Herbert P., 1986. "Political Opportunity Structures and Political Protest: Anti-Nuclear Movements in Four Democracies," British Journal of Political Science, Cambridge University Press, vol. 16(01), pages 57-85, January.
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