Is There Life After Voting? the Political Participation of Ethnic Minorities in Europe

Wednesday, June 26, 2013
1.15 (PC Hoofthuis)
Sergiu Gherghina , Department of International Data Infrastructures, GESIS Cologne
Existing research indicates that ethnic parties are among the most electorally stable political actors in Europe. Similarly, their electorates are seen as the most organized, disciplined, and involved. While the voting behavior of ethnic groups has been intensely investigated, less attention was paid to other forms of political participation. This paper seeks to address this empirical gap by answering two inter-related research questions: to what extent is the political participation of ethnic minorities limited to voting (compared to the majority populations) and what factors favor various types of political participation? Five forms of political participation are considered: voting, persuasion of other citizens to vote, participation in campaign activities, contacts with politician or official, and participation in demonstrations or protests. The study is carried at individual level using data from the Candidate Study of Electoral Systems (CSES). It includes the European countries with relevant ethnic minorities (i.e. relevance according to several criteria) and provides a cross-national analysis. The empirical tests account for three types of determinants enhancing the political participation of citizens belonging to ethnic minorities: political (i.e. satisfaction with democracy, government performance, closeness to a party, importance of elections), economic (retrospective and prospective evaluations), and social (income, education, residence) variables.