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Conventional and unconventional participation in Latin America: a hierarchical latent class approach

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  28 September 2020

R. Michael Alvarez
California Institute of Technology, 1200 E. California Blvd., Pasadena, CA91125, USA
Gabriel Katz*
University of Exeter, Amory Building, Rennes Drive, Exeter, EX4 4QJ, UK Universidad Católica del Uruguay, Montevideo, Uruguay
Ines Levin
University of California at Irvine, 3151 Social Science Plaza, Irvine, CA92697, USA
Lucas Núñez
Schar School of Policy and Government, George Mason University, 4400 University Drive, 3F4, Fairfax, CA22030, USA
*Corresponding author. Email:


Building on past research, we implement a hierarchical latent class model to analyze political participation from a comparative perspective. Our methodology allows simultaneously: (i) estimating citizens’ propensity to engage in conventional and unconventional modes of participation; (ii) classifying individuals into underlying “types” capturing within- and cross-country variations in participation; and (iii) assessing how this classification varies with micro- and macro-level factors. We apply our model to Latin American survey data. We show that our method outperforms alternative approaches used to study participation and derive typologies of political engagement. Substantively, we find that the distribution of participatory types is similar throughout the continent, and that it correlates strongly with respondents’ socio-demographic characteristics and crime victimization.

Research Note
Copyright © The Author(s), 2020. Published by Cambridge University Press on behalf of the European Political Science Association

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