Käte Burow-Auffarth and Uwe Heinrichs have been research assistants of the first author. They mainly carried out the data analysis but also contributed original ideas to this paper. The paper was written and conceived of by the first author.
Conditions for Conventional and Unconventional Political Participation: An Empirical Test of Economic and Sociological Hypotheses
Version of Record online: 29 MAY 2006
European Journal of Political Research
Volume 9, Issue 2, pages 147–168, June 1981
How to Cite
OPP, K.-D., BUROW-AUFFARTH, K. and HEINRICHS, U. (1981), Conditions for Conventional and Unconventional Political Participation: An Empirical Test of Economic and Sociological Hypotheses. European Journal of Political Research, 9: 147–168. doi: 10.1111/j.1475-6765.1981.tb00596.x
Some of the data analysis was performed during a two-semester seminar at the Sociological Institute of the University of Hamburg in 1978/79. We wish to thank the participants of this seminar. We also owe many thanks to Dr Peter Schmidt (Mannheim) and Dr Andreas Diekmann (Vienna) and also to the members of the work group ‘Economics, Psychology, Sociology’, professors Hans Albert (Mannheim), Bruno S. Frey (Zürich), Kurt H. Stapf (Tübingen), and Wolfgang Stroebe (Tübingen) for valuable criticism of the first version of this paper. This paper was presented at the 7th Interlaken Seminar on Analysis and Ideology (Interlaken, Switzerland), May 1980. We wish to thank the participants for their critical comments. We are also very much indebted to Prof. Mogens N. Pedersen (Odense University, Denmark) for very valuable criticism. Last but not least we are grateful to the Zentralarchiv für empirische Sozialforschung (Cologne) for placing the data at our disposal.
- Issue online: 29 MAY 2006
- Version of Record online: 29 MAY 2006
For almost any social phenomenon there exist a great many different theories seeking to explain the respective social facts. This holds also for the field of political participation which is the subject of this paper. In order to explain why people participate more or less in a conventional or unconventional way, not only hypotheses of sociology and political science might be applied. Economics, too, claims to offer valid explanations. In this situation there arises the problem of which theories are superior. In order to contribute to answering this question, some hypotheses on political participation are stated, based upon utility theory. This ‘economic model’ of (conventional and unconventional) political participation is empirically confronted with two sociological theories of political participation. A theoretical analysis indicates that the economic model implies conditions for the validity of the two sociological theories. Furthermore, a secondary analysis with data from Western Germany showed that the economic model was, in spite of measurement problems, superior to the sociological theories.