- Economic crisis and levels of political participation in Europe (2002-2010): the role of resources and grievances
- West European Politics
- Volume | Issue number
- 38 | 3
- Pages (from-to)
- Document type
- Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences (FMG)
- Amsterdam Institute for Social Science Research (AISSR)
This article examines the effect of the recent economic crisis on political participation levels in Europe. As the civic voluntarism model and grievances theory predict different effects of economic downturn on political participation, the crisis provides a unique context to evaluate the explanatory power of these two theories. It is found that, when investigating a period of eight years (2002-2010), economic growth is positively associated with non-institutionalised political participation, which is in line with the civic voluntarism model. However, when focusing on the changes in political participation that occurred between 2008 and 2010 it is found that rising unemployment is associated with rising levels of non-institutionalised political participation, suggesting that grievance theory is especially useful in exceptionally negative conditions as suddenly imposed grievances can lead to various forms of protest behaviour. The article argues that these shock experiences can lead to momentary peak periods of mobilisation.
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