, Volume 42, Issue 2, pp 447–479 | Cite as

Income distribution and political participation: a multilevel analysis

  • Lorenzo Cicatiello
  • Salvatore Ercolano
  • Giuseppe Lucio Gaeta
Original Paper


An extensive theoretical and empirical literature already investigates the impact of income inequality on citizens’ involvement in specific politically-oriented activities such as voting, membership of political groups, participation in political meetings, etc. In order to broaden still further the theoretical perspective on the connection between income inequality and citizens’ political participation, this paper links the literature on inequality and political engagement with the one proposing a conceptualization of different forms of political participation. More specifically, this paper proposes a conceptual framework that analyzes how income inequality interacts with individuals’ income position in explaining citizens’ involvement in conventional and unconventional political activities. The core of the paper focuses on a multilevel mixed-effects empirical analysis carried out on survey data collected by the European Values Study project; its results support the hypothesis that income inequality significantly shapes the effect of household income in determining citizens’ forms of political engagement.


Inequality Conventional political participation Unconventional political participation Multilevel analysis 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lorenzo Cicatiello
    • 1
  • Salvatore Ercolano
    • 1
  • Giuseppe Lucio Gaeta
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Human and Social SciencesUniversity of Naples L’OrientaleNaplesItaly

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