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Institutet för Framtidsstudier - Institute for Futures Studies Arbetsrapport, Institutet för Framtidsstudier - Institute for Futures Studies

No 2008:3:
Urban Inequality and Political Recruitment Networks

Per Strömblad () and Gunnar Myrberg ()

Abstract: This paper provides evidence of segregation-generated differences in political recruitment networks. By taking explicit account of social-geographical differentiation in the urban landscape, we evaluate—in prior work largely neglected—contextual effects on requests for participation. Consistent with previous research, we find that those activists who try to convince others to participate in political life systematically use a set of selection criteria when deciding whom to approach. However, using recent data based on a sample of inhabitants of Swedish cities and properties of their neighborhoods, we also show that the degree of (aggregate-level) social exclusion negatively influences (individual-level) recruitment efforts. This contextual effect stems both from the disproportional population composition as such in residential areas, and from recruiters’ rational avoidance of areas marked by high levels of social exclusion. We conclude that these logics jointly reinforce urban inequalities regarding the chances for ordinary citizens to be invited to political life.

Keywords: political recruitment; political recruiters; contextual effects; Civic Voluntarism Model; statistical discrimination; (follow links to similar papers)

JEL-Codes: I39; J19; (follow links to similar papers)

28 pages, February 2008

ISSN: 1652-120X;ISBN: 978-91-85619-21-4

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