The Exit of Residential Mobility or the Voice of Political Action? Strategies for Problem Solving in Residential Communities1


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    This research was made possible by Grant #9000 236658 from the UK. Economic and Social Research Council to Keith Dowding and Peter John.

Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Mark Van Vugt, Department of Psychology, University of Southampton, Southampton S017 lBJ, United Kingdom. E-mail:


This research investigated 2 action strategies for residents to deal with dissatisfying community services: moving out of the community (exit), or communicating dissatisfaction to local authorities (voice). Data were used from a population movement survey conducted among 1,529 households in 3 major cities in the United Kingdom in 1997. Employing concepts from interdependence theory (Kelley & Thibaut, 1978), we predicted that dissatisfaction with community services would lead to more exit and voice responses. Furthermore, exit was predicted to be dominant among residents who, for diverse reasons, were less dependent; and voice was predicted for residents who were more dependent on the community. These predictions were supported, and the relevance of these findings for understanding community stability and improvement is discussed.