Political scientists maintain that self-interest should motivate political participation; however, empirical verification of the self-interest motive for participating is rare. Self-interested activism among the less-affluent is shown to be even more uncommon. Results of the present study suggest that when lower-income college students have resources and increased self-interest motives to act, not only do they choose to participate, they do so at higher levels than their more affluent peers. Utilizing policy-motivated activism (defined as voting, contributing, and contacting officials) with respect to student loans, the analysis suggests that the probability of contacting increases among student borrowers as their income decreases. Results suggest that lower-income borrowers are more likely to participate out of concern for the program than their higher-income counterparts, and self-interest explains the behavior.
Political Behavior – Springer Journals
Published: Feb 2, 2011
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