Quality & Quantity

, Volume 49, Issue 1, pp 407–422 | Cite as

Who will not deliberate? Attrition in a multi-stage citizen deliberation experiment

  • Maija Karjalainen
  • Lauri RapeliEmail author


This article examines the determinants of attrition in deliberative mini-publics. We approach attrition from a social psychological and a socioeconomic perspective and draw several hypotheses. We find that age and life situation are the primary predictors of attrition, but also having a negative opinion about immigration and reluctance to expose oneself to conflicting opinions play an important role. We use data from a citizen deliberation experiment organized in Finland in 2012. The data allows us to analyze attrition in several stages of recruitment, resulting in 207 people from an initial population of 12,000 participating in a deliberation experiment. The topic of the discussions was immigration, and the experiment was designed to test the theoretical assumptions of enclave deliberation. Our results feed the ongoing discussion about equality and representation in deliberative mini-publics and highlight the importance of social psychological variables in explaining attrition.


Deliberative democracy Enclaves Experimental research  Survey methodology Attrition Nonresponse 


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© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Social Science Research InstituteÅbo Akademi University TurkuFinland
  2. 2.Department of Political ScienceUniversity of Turku TurkuFinland
  3. 3.Aronia Research and Development InstituteEkenäsFinland

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