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date: 20 September 2019

Abstract and Keywords

Models that embed people in social groups provide solutions to the paradox of voting. This chapter summarizes several approaches that use group identities and loyalties to generate substantial turnout even within rational choice models of participation (whether voting or collective action more broadly). One theoretical move introduces leaders acting instrumentally to mobilize individuals who belong to some group, thereby integrating the individual citizen’s consumption term into an instrumental calculus. Other, complementary, theoretical developments introduce relational goods, which exist only with interaction among specific people, as part of the mobilizing arsenal, or more generally develop relational motivations for collective action. The chapter briefly discusses some empirical findings, notably including experiments that show that shame, pride, and digital social networks increase turnout, and argues that these results provide support for the social embeddedness models.

Keywords: turnout, relational goods, paradox of voting, mobilization, identity, group loyalty, leaders, social embeddedness, collective action, rational choice

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