Comparative European Politics

, Volume 17, Issue 1, pp 22–48 | Cite as

Classy behavior: the big political role of small business owners

  • Joby Schaffer
  • Sarah Wilson SokheyEmail author
  • A. Kadir Yildirim
Original Article


Many theories assign important political roles to small business owners as part of the middle and upper middle class. Despite this, we have surprisingly little empirical work on the political behavior of small business owners. Using the European Social Survey covering 28 countries over six waves from 2002 to 2012, we find that small business owners are indeed more politically active despite their diversity across sectors and countries. This counters a great deal of existing work which emphasizes the wide divergence in small business owners’ political behavior within and across countries. Rather, we find that owning a small business does have a distinct effect on political behavior in many different contexts.


Small business Business owners Middle class Political participation Right-wing politics European Social Survey 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Limited 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Joby Schaffer
    • 1
    • 2
  • Sarah Wilson Sokhey
    • 1
    Email author
  • A. Kadir Yildirim
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Political ScienceUniversity of Colorado, BoulderBoulderUSA
  2. 2.Spark Policy InstituteDenverUSA
  3. 3.Baker Institute for Public PolicyRice UniversityHoustonUSA

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