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Political Choice in Britain$
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Harold D. Clarke, David Sanders, Marianne C. Stewart, and Paul Whiteley

Print publication date: 2004

Print ISBN-13: 9780199244881

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2004

DOI: 10.1093/019924488X.001.0001

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Theories and Models of Turnout

Theories and Models of Turnout

(p.217) SEVEN Theories and Models of Turnout
Political Choice in Britain

Harold D. Clarke (Contributor Webpage)

David Sanders (Contributor Webpage)

Marianne C. Stewart (Contributor Webpage)

Paul Whiteley (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

Uses confirmatory factor analysis to locate electoral participation in a broader matrix of political activities, and presents alternative theoretical models that might be used to explain the decline in electoral turnout in Britain and other mature democracies. The relative deprivation or equity-fairness model stresses the gap between what an individual expects and what s/he gets out of life. The civic voluntarism model focuses on the resources that individuals bring to bear on the decision to vote or not and the mobilization efforts that are made by other actors. The social capital model emphasizes social trust and the individual’s involvement with social organizations. The cognitive mobilization model highlights the role of political interest, political knowledge, and media usage. Finally, the general incentives model supplements a broadly defined Downsian-style cost-benefit analysis with variables that take account of a variety of other incentives, such as ‘doing one’s democratic duty’.

Keywords:   civic voluntarism, cognitive mobilization, general incentives, relative deprivation, social capital, turnout

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