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Finkel and Muller: Rational choice and the dynamics of collective political action

Disclaimer. Don't rely on these old notes in lieu of reading the literature, but they can jog your memory. As a grad student long ago, my peers and I collaborated to write and exchange summaries of political science research. I posted them to a wiki-style website. "Wikisum" is now dead but archived here. I cannot vouch for these notes' accuracy, nor can I say who wrote them.

Finkel and Muller. 1998. Rational choice and the dynamics of collective political action: Evaluating alternative models with. American Political Science Review 92 (March): 37-94.

In Brief

Finkel and Muller argue that we need to test levels of actual participation and attitudes of participants BEFORE participation. Need panel studies w/same subjects. They criticize studies that test motivation of participation after the fact (although they don't mention it specifically, this criticism should include Schlozman et al. 1995).

Finkel and Muller are HUGE proponents of panel data: each subject was interviewed twice (pre-test/post-test).




General Findings

This is a potential causal story:

Collective interest » Political participation at T-1 » change in perceptions about selective interest » political participation at T2.

Research by the same authors

Research on similar subjects


Finkel, Steven (author)Muller, Edward (author)Political TheorySelf-InterestVotingTurnoutProsocial Behavior

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