Evaluations of the quality of the representative channel and unequal participation
Title: Evaluations of the quality of the representative channel and unequal participation
Citation: Comparative European politics, 2016, Advance online publication
This article analyzes how individual-level assessments of the quality and functioning of the representative channel affect citizens’ likelihood to turn out to vote and to engage in alternative forms of non-institutionalized participation, and whether these relationships are moderated by individual resources as measured by education. Relying on novel data from the sixth round of the European Social Survey on how European citizens evaluate different aspects of democracy we show that negative evaluations of the quality of the representative channel discourage voting, but only promote participation in demonstrations among the highly educated. These findings highlight potential inequalities in citizens’ ability to voice their political demands: while highly educated individuals are likely to translate their negative evaluations of the institutional channel of representation into non-institutionalized forms of participation, in the presence of negative evaluations low educated individuals are simply more likely to withdraw from politics.
Advance online publication 18 January 2016.
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