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Beyond SES: A Resource Model of Political Participation

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  01 June 1995

Henry E. Brady
University of California, Berkeley
Sidney Verba
Harvard University
Kay Lehman Schlozman
Boston College


This paper develops a resource model of political participation. The resources considered are time, money, and civic skills—those communications and organizational capacities that are essential to political activity. These skills are not only acquired early in life but developed in the nonpolitical institutional settings of adult life: the workplace, organizations, and churches and synagogues. These resources are distributed differentially among groups defined by socioeconomic status. A two-stage least squares analysis shows these resources have powerful effects on overall political activity, thus explaining why socioeconomic status has traditionally been so powerful in predicting participation. We disaggregate overall activity into three kinds of acts: those that involve giving time, those that entail donating money, and voting. Each requires a different configuration of resources resulting in different patterns of stratification across various political acts.

Research Article
Copyright © American Political Science Association 1995

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