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Recreation and Participation: Testing the Political Impact of Social Interaction*


Direct correspondence to Sean Richey, Department of Political Science, Georgia State University, 38 Peachtree Central Ave., Atlanta, GA 30303 <>.We will share all data and coding information with those wishing to replicate the study. Contact Sean Richey for a copy of the web appendix mentioned below. The authorship is equal and the names are listed alphabetically.



We research the political impact of human social interaction. Some scholars suggest that recreational or other informal interaction may promote political participation. Informal recreational interaction is proposed to be beneficial because it increases activity in more serious political participation.


To test these ideas, we use new nationally representative survey data from seven East Asian nations using Poisson regression models.


We show that informal social interaction and nonpolitical voluntary activity do increase political participation.


Even though the recreation may begin as a nonpolitical activity, we show that it may spark later political participation.