Skip to main content Accessibility help

How to Make Dutiful Citizens and Influence Turnout: the Effects of Family and School Dynamics on the Duty to Vote

  • Carol Galais (a1)


Existing literature assumes a link between voting and individuals’ political socialization, but no study has explored how political upbringing affects the most important attitudinal predictor of turnout: the duty to vote. Following previous research about the formation of attitudes related to the electoral process and social norms, this study focuses on the socialization agencies and dynamics that might first instill the belief during childhood that voting is a duty. The study also intends to contribute to political socialization theory by adopting a longitudinal perspective, by building upon developmental psychology theory and by simultaneously considering the two main childhood socialization agencies: family and school. A series of multivariate models confirms the role of family's socioeconomic status, parental engagement with children's education and non-authoritarian parenting styles, a positive effect that appears stronger than the effects on duty observed for Catholic schools and schools with democratic governance.

La littérature actuelle présume qu'il existe un lien entre le vote et la socialisation politique des individus, mais aucune étude n'a exploré comment l’éducation politique affecte le prédicteur comportemental le plus important de la participation : le devoir de voter. D'après les études sur la formation d'attitudes liées au processus électoral et aux normes sociales, cette étude se concentre sur les organismes de socialisation et les dynamiques qui pourraient d'abord faire croire que le vote est un devoir instillé au cours de l'enfance. L’étude vise également à contribuer à la théorie de la socialisation politique en adoptant une perspective longitudinale, en s'appuyant sur la théorie de la psychologie du développement et en considérant simultanément les deux principaux organismes de socialisation de l'enfance: la famille et l’école. Une série de modèles multivariés confirme le rôle du statut socio-économique de la famille, de l'engagement parental dans l’éducation des enfants et des styles parentaux non autoritaires; un effet positif qui semble plus fort que les effets observés pour les écoles catholiques et les écoles à gouvernance démocratique.


Corresponding author

Grup GADE. Administració i Democràcia Electrònica, Universitat Oberta de Catalunya Av., Carl Friedrich Gauss, Parc Mediterrani de la Tecnologia 08860, Castelldefels, Barcelona, Spain, email:


Hide All
Achen, C.H. 2002. “Parental socialization and rational party identification.” Political Behavior 24 (2): 151–70.
Almond, G. and Verba, S.. 1963. The Civic Culture: Political Attitudes and Democracy in Five Countries. Princeton: Princeton University Press.
Almond, G.A. 1960. The American People and Foreign Policy. New York: Praeger.
Amnå, E., Ekström, M., Kerr, M., and Stattin, H.. 2009. “Political socialization and human agency: The development of civic engagement from adolescence to adulthood.” Statsvetenskaplig Tidskrift 111 (1): 2740.
Battistich, Victor, Solomon, Daniel, Kim, Dong-il, Watson, Marilyn and Schaps, Eric. 1995. “Schools as Communities, Poverty Levels Of Student Populations, And Students’ Attitudes, Motives, And Performance: A Multilevel Analysis.” American Educational Research Journal 32 (3): 627–58.
Baumrind, Diana. 1991. “The Influence of Parenting Style on Adolescent Competence and Substance Use.” The Journal of Early Adolescence 11 (1): 5695.
Blais, A. 2000. To vote or not to vote: The merits and limits of rational choice theory. Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press.
Blais, André and Achen, Christopher H.. 2010. “Taking Civic Duty Seriously: Political Theory and Voter Turnout.” Working paper, Princeton University. (March 21, 2015).
Blais, André and Galais, Carol. 2016. “Measuring the civic duty to vote: A proposal.” Electoral Studies 41: 6069.
Blais, André and Rubenson, Daniel. 2013. “The Source of Turnout Decline New Values or New Contexts?Comparative Political Studies 46 (1), 95117.
Blais, André and St-Vincent, Simon Labbé. 2011. “Personality Traits, Political Attitudes, and the Propensity to Vote.European Journal of Political Research 50: 395417.
Blais, André, Gidengil, Elisabeth and Nevitte, Neil. 2004. “Where Does Turnout Decline Come From?European Journal of Political Research 43 (2): 221–36.
Bourdieu, Pierre. 1977. “Cultural Reproduction and Social Reproduction.” In Power and Ideology in Education, ed. Karabel, J. and Halsey, A. H.. New York: Oxford University Press.
Bowler, Shaun and Donovan, Todd. 2013. “Civic Duty and Turnout in the UK Referendum on AV: What Shapes the Duty to Vote?Electoral Studies 32 (2): 265–73.
Burtonwood, Neil. 2003. “Social Cohesion, Autonomy and the Liberal Defence of Faith Schools.” Journal of Philosophy of Education 37 (3), 415–25.
Campbell, Angus, Converse, Philip E., Miller, Warren E. and Donald, E. Stokes. 1960. The American Voter. New York: John Wiley.
Dalton, Russell J. 2008. “Citizenship Norms and the Expansion of Political Participation.” Political Studies 56 (1): 7698.
Delli Carpini, Michael X. and Keeter, Scott. 1996. What Americans Don't Know About Politics and Why It Matters. New Haven: Yale University Press.
Dennis, Jack and Webster, Carol. 1975. “Children's Images of the President and of Government in 1962 and 1974.” American Politics Quarterly 3 (4): 386405.
Dennis, Jack. 1968. “Major problems of Political Socialization Research.” Midwest Journal of Political Science 12: 85114.
Denny, Kevin and Doyle, Orla. 2008. “Political Interest, Cognitive Ability and Personality: Determinants of Voter Turnout in Britain.British Journal of Political Science 38 (2): 291–10.
Dowding, Keith. 2005. “Is it rational to vote? Five types of answer and a suggestion.The British Journal of Politics and International Relations 7 (3): 442–59.
Dudley, R.L. and Gitelson, A.R.. 2002. “Political literacy, civic education, and civic engagement: a return to political socialization?Applied Developmental Science 6 (4): 175–82.
Finn, Jeremy D. 1989. “Withdrawing from School.” Review of Educational Research 59 (2): 117–42.
Flanagan, Constance A., Bowes, Jennifer M., Jonsson, Britta, Csapo, Beno and Sheblanova, Elena. 1998. “Ties that Bind.” Journal of Social Issues 54 (3): 457–75.
Fowler, James H. and Dawes, Christopher T.. 2008. “Two Genes Predict Voter Turnout.The Journal of Politics 70 (3): 579–94.
Gimpel, James G., Celeste Lay, J. and Schuknecht, Jason E.. 2003. Cultivating Democracy: Civic Environments and Political Socialization in America. Washington DC: Brookings Institution.
Graham, Jesse, Nosek, Brian A., Haidt, Jonathan, Iyer, Ravi, Koleva, Spassena and Ditto, Peter H.. 2011. “Mapping the Moral Domain.Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 101 (2): 366–84.
Greenstein, Fred I. 1965. Children and Politics. New Haven: Yale University.
Hatemi, Peter K., Funk, Carolyn L., Medland, Sarah E., Maes, Hermine M., Silberg, Judy L., Martin, Nicholas G. and Eaves, Lindon J.. 2009. “Genetic and Environmental Transmission of Political Attitudes over a Life Time.” The Journal of Politics 71 (3): 1141–56.
Hess, Robert D. and Torney-Purta, Judith V.. 1967. The Development of Political Attitudes in Children. Chicago: Aldine Publishing Company.
Hyman, Herbert. 1959. Political Socialization. New York: Free Press.
Jennings, M. Kent, Stoker, Laura and Bower, Jake. 2009. “Politics across Generations: Family Transmission Reexamined.” The Journal of Politics 71 (3): 782–99.
Keating, Avril and Janmaat, Jan Germen. 2016. “Education through Citizenship at School: Do School Activities Have a Lasting Impact on Youth Political Engagement?Parliamentary Affairs 69 (2): 409–29.
Kiousis, Spiro and McDevitt, Michael. 2008Agenda Setting in Civic Development Effects of Curricula and Issue Importance on Youth Voter Turnout.Communication Research 35 (4): 481502.
Klemmensen, Robert, Hatemi, Peter K., Hobolt, Sara Binzer, Petersen, Inge, Skytthe, Axel and Nørgaard, Asbjørn S.. 2012. “The Genetics of Political Participation, Civic Duty, and Political Efficacy across Cultures: Denmark and the United States.” Journal of Theoretical Politics 24 (3): 409–27.
Knack, Stephen and Kropf, Martha E.. 1998. “For Shame! The Effect of Community Cooperative Context on the Probability of Voting.” Political Psychology 19 (3): 585–99.
Krosnick, Jon A. and Alwin, Duane F.. 1989. “Aging and Susceptibility to Attitude Change.Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 57 (3): 416.
Lamb, M.E. (Ed.). (1986). The changing roles of fathers. The fathers' role: Applied perspectives. New York: Wiley.
Landry, Susan H., Smith, Karen E., Swank, Paul R., Assel, Mike A. and Vellet, Sonya. 2001. “Does Early Responsive Parenting Have a Special Importance for Children's Development or is Consistency across Early Childhood Necessary?Developmental Psychology 37 (3): 387.
Linimon, Amy and Joslyn, Mark R.. 2002. “Trickle Up Political Socialization: The Impact of Kids Voting USA on Voter Turnout in Kansas.” State Politics and Policy Quarterly 2 (1): 2436.
Loewen, Peter John and Dawes, Christopher T.. 2012. “The Heritability of Duty and Voter Turnout.” Political Psychology 33 (3), 363–73.
Macaluso, Theodore F. and Wanat, John. 1979. “Voting Turnout and Religiosity.Polity 12: 158–69.
MacMullen, Ian. 2004. “Education for Autonomy: The Role of Religious Elementary Schools.” Journal of Philosophy of Education 38 (4): 601–15.
McIntosh, Hugh, Hart, Daniel and Youniss, James. 2007. “The Influence of Family Political Discussion on Youth Civic Development: Which Parent Qualities Matter?PS: Political Science and Politics 40 (3): 495–99.
Mosher, Ralph. 1994. Preparing for Citizenship. Teaching Youth Live Democratically. Westport and London: Praeger.
Mueller, Dennis C. 2003. “Public Choice: an Introduction.” In The Encyclopedia of Public Choice, ed. Rowley, Charles K. and Schneider, Friedrich. New York: Springer.
Niemi, R.G. and Hepburn, M.A.. 1995. “The rebirth of political socialization.” Perspectives on Political Science 24 (1): 716.
Osterman, Karen. F. 2000. “Students’ Need for Belonging in the School Community.” Review of Educational Research 70 (3): 323–67.
Owen, Diana. 2008. “Political socialization in the twenty-first century: Recommendations for researchers.” Paper presented at the conference, Future of Civic Education in the 21st Century, James Madison Montpelier.
Owen, Guillermo and Grofman, Bernard. 1984. “To Vote or Not to Vote: The Paradox of Nonvoting.” Public Choice 42 (3): 311–25.
Pacheco, Julianna Sandell and Plutzer, Eric. 2008. “Political Participation and Cumulative Disadvantage: the Impact of Economic and Social Hardship on Young Citizens.Journal of Social Issues 64 (3): 571–93.
Panksepp, Jaak. 1986. “The anatomy of emotions.” In Emotion: Theory, research and experience, ed. Plutchik, Robert and Kellerman, Henry. vol. 3. New York: Academic.
Pasek, Josh, Feldman, Lauren, Romer, Daniel and Jamieson, Kathleen Hall. 2008. “Schools as Incubators of Democratic Participation: Building Long-term Political Efficacy with Civic Education.” Applied Developmental Science 12 (1): 236–37.
Peterson, Bill E., Smirles, Kimberly A. and Wentworth, Phyllis A.. 1997. “Generativity and Authoritarianism: Implications for Personality, Political Involvement, and Parenting.Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 72 (5): 1202.
Plutzer, Eric. 2002. “Becoming a Habitual Voter: Inertia, Resources, and Growth in Young Adulthood.” American Political Science Review 96 (1): 4156.
Quintelier, Ellen. 2014. “Intergenerational Transmission of Political Participation Intention.” Acta Politica 48: 92116.
Riker, William H. and Ordeshook, Peter C.. 1968. “A Theory of the Calculus of Voting.” American Political Science Review 62 (1): 2542.
Rothbart, Mary K., Ahadi, Stephan A. and Evans, David E.. 2000. “Temperament and Personality: Origins and Outcomes.” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 78 (1): 122.
Rothbart, Mary Klevjord and Derryberry, Douglas. 1981. “Development of Individual Differences in Temperament.” In Advances in Developmental Psychology ed. Lamb, M. E. and Brown, A. L.. vol. 1. Hillsdale NJ: Erlbaum.
Sagvolden, Terje, Johansen, Espen Borga, Aase, Heidi and Russell, Vivienne Ann. 2005. “A Dynamic Developmental Theory of Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) Predominantly Hyperactive/Impulsive and Combined Subtypes.” Behavioral and Brain Sciences 28 (3): 397418.
Sarkadi, Anna, Kristiansson, Robert, Oberklaid, Frank and Bremberg, Sven. 2008. “Fathers’ involvement and children's developmental outcomes: a systematic review of longitudinal studies.” Acta paediatrica 97 (2): 153–58.
Sapiro, V. 2004. “Not Your Parents’ Political Socialization: Introduction for a New Generation.” Annual Review of Political Science 7: 123.
Searing, D.D., Schwartz, J.J. and Lind, A.E.. 1973. “The structuring principle: Political socialization and belief systems.” American Political Science Review 67 (2): 415–32.
Sears, David O., Hensler, Carl P. and Speer, Leslie K.. 1979. “Whites’ Opposition to ‘Busing’: Self-Interest or Symbolic Politics?American Political Science Review 73 (2): 369–84.
Sullivan, J.L., Fried, A. and Dietz, M.G.. 1992. “Patriotism, politics, and the presidential election of 1988.” American Journal of Political Science 36: 200–34.
Tedin, Kent L. 1974. “The Influence of Parents on the Political Attitudes of Adolescents.American Political Science Review 68 (4): 1579–92.
Theiss-Morse, E. 1993. “Conceptualizations of good citizenship and political participation.” Political Behavior 15 (4): 355–80.
Torney-Purta, Judith, Lehmann, Rainer, Oswald, Hans and Schulz, Wolfram. 2001. Citizenship and Education in Twenty-Eight Countries: Civic Knowledge and Engagement at Age Fourteen. Amsterdam: International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement.
Uhlaner, Carole Jean. 1986. “Political Participation, Rational Actors, and Rationality: A New Approach.” Political Psychology 7 (3): 551–73.
Van Deth, Jan W., Abendschön, Simone and Vollmar, Meike. 2011. “Children and Politics: An Empirical Reassessment of Early Political Socialization.Political Psychology 32 (1): 147–74.
Verba, Sidney, Schlozman, Kay Lehman and Brady, Henry E.. 1995. Voice and Equality: Civic Voluntarism in American Politics. Cambridge MA: Harvard University Press.
Verba, Sidney, Schlozman, Kay Lehman and Burns, Nancy. 2005. “Family Ties: Understanding the Intergenerational Transmission of Participation.” In The Social Logic of Politics ed. Zuckerman, Alan. Philaelphia PA: Temple University Press.
Weinschenk, Aaron C. 2014. “Personality Traits and the Sense of Civic Duty.” American Politics Research 42 (1): 90113.
Wolfinger, Raymond E and Rosenstone, Steven J.. 1980. Who Votes? New Haven CT: Yale University Press.
Zuckerman, Alan S., Kotler-Berkowitz, Laurence A. and Swaine, Lucas A.. 1998. “Anchoring Political Preferences: the Structural Bases of Stable Electoral Decisions and Political Attitudes in Britain.” European Journal of Political Research 33 (3): 285321.

Related content

Powered by UNSILO

How to Make Dutiful Citizens and Influence Turnout: the Effects of Family and School Dynamics on the Duty to Vote

  • Carol Galais (a1)


Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed.