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Keywords:

  • Political participation;
  • Youth;
  • Unemployment;
  • Social capital

Abstract:  This paper examines the relationships between employment status, social capital, and the participation of young people in different kinds of political activities such as contacting, consumer, and protest activities. We focus on the role of social capital for political participation, addressing three related questions: Do unemployed and employed youth display different levels of social capital and political participation? Does social capital favor the political participation of unemployed and employed youth? Is social capital more important for unemployed youth than for employed youth? To address these questions we compare long-term unemployed youth to regularly employed youth using original survey data. Our analysis suggests that the employment status has only a limited impact on political participation, affecting only consumer actions. In contrast, the social capital resulting from associational involvement is positively correlated to political participation. However, rather than countering the effect of exclusion from the labor market, it plays a similar role for unemployed youth and employed youth.