This article compares the determinants of political participation, from voting and signing petitions to boycotting, across 23 European countries, posing the question whether and to what degree social inequalities in political participation differ between post-communist and Western countries. The data for the analysis is from the second round of the ESS survey, conducted in 2004-2005. The analysis focuses on the role of education, occupation, and gender in shaping the chances of engaging in political action, while also controlling for a range of sociological, political, and demographic variables. Interaction effects between individual variables and a post-communist dummy variable are used to directly compare the statistical significance of the difference in coefficients between post-communist and Western countries. The article finds that the observed effects of the post-communist context are actually accounted for by the indirect effects of a number of individual-level variables. In particular, education, occupation, and gender have stronger effects in post-communist countries than Western countries on many forms of political participation; in other words, the post-communist countries exhibit somewhat larger inequalities in political participation than in the West.
Financed by the National Centre for Research and Development under grant No. SP/I/1/77065/10 by the strategic scientific research and experimental development program:
SYNAT - “Interdisciplinary System for Interactive Scientific and Scientific-Technical Information”.