Scandinavian Working Papers in Economics

Arbetsrapport,
Institute for Futures Studies

No 2008:3: Urban Inequality and Political Recruitment Networks

Per Strömblad () and Gunnar Myrberg ()
Additional contact information
Per Strömblad: Institute for Futures Studies, Postal: Box 591, SE-101 31 Stockholm, Sweden
Gunnar Myrberg: Uppsala University, Postal: Department of Government, Box 514, SE-751 20 Uppsala, Sweden

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

JEL-codes: I39; J19

28 pages, February 2008

Price: 25 SEK

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

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