Political participation is often conceived of as a largely individual act. In this paper we emphasize the context in which that choice is made: features of that context make some choices more likely than others both in terms of the decision to participate but also in terms of the kinds of participation in which to engage. In particular, we examine the role that social capital plays in shaping political participation in Latin America. We show that higher levels of social capital promote more conventional forms of political participation such as voting and contacting elected representatives. Given marked differences in levels of social capital across rural and urban areas we are therefore able to show that there exists a geography of political participation across Latin America.
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Due to missing data in some key variables necessary for our analysis in the 2014 wave (e.g. the petition variable used in the ‘political activism’ scale), some of the models below only use data from the 2012 wave. Whenever possible, we use data from both waves.
Data and supporting materials necessary to reproduce the results in the paper are available in the Political Behavior Dataverse (https://doi.org/10.7910/DVN/URJM7O).
See the results of the factor analyses in Tables A1 and A2 in the Appendix.
Marginal effects measure the expected change in the dependent variable as a function of a change in a certain explanatory variable while keeping all the other covariates constant.
We follow here the example of Bolzendahl and Coffé (2013).
The only exception is the item capturing attendance of party meetings, which was recoded into a dummy variable (1 = attends party meetings at least once a year, 0 = does not attend party meetings).
These models include all the control variables that were included in the political engagement models above (Table 4), as well as country fixed effects to account for the hierarchical nature of the data. Full models are available in Table A4 in the online Appendix.
If we exclude the variable “community size” from model 6, the R-squared remains almost unchanged (0.182).
We report unstandardized coefficients in the multilevel SEMs because the GSEM Stata command used to estimate them cannot produce standardized coefficients.
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Carreras, M., Bowler, S. Community Size, Social Capital, and Political Participation in Latin America. Polit Behav 41, 723–745 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11109-018-9470-8