The empirical study of political participation is approximately 30 years old. The earliest studies concentrated on explaining why some people chose to vote and others did not. Gradually, inquiries into political participation looked at other behavior such as campaigning, making financial contributions, attending meetings, and so forth. Most of these somewhat broader inquiries into political participation were embedded in studies of voting behavior (Berelson, Lazarsfeld, & McPhee, 1954; Campbell, Gurin, & Miller, 1954; Campbell, Converse, Miller, & Stokes, 1960; Lazarsfeld, Berelson, & Gaudet, 1944). As the findings began to accumulate from a variety of studies done in a variety of countries, it became possible for scholars to prepare summary statements of the findings with respect to political participation (Lane, 1959; Milbrath, 1965).


Political System Political Activity Political Participation High Socioeconomic Status Vote Turnout 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1981

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lester W. Milbrath
    • 1
  1. 1.Environmental Studies CenterState University of New York at BuffaloBuffaloUSA

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