Beyond the Self: Social Identity, Altruism, and Political Participation

27 Pages Posted: 20 Aug 2007

See all articles by James H. Fowler

James H. Fowler

UC San Diego Division of Social Sciences; UC San Diego School of Medicine

Cindy D. Kam

Vanderbilt University - Department of Political Science

Abstract

Scholars have recently extended the traditional calculus of participation model by adding a term for benefits to others. We advance this work by distinguishing theoretically a concern for others in general (altruism) from a concern for others in certain groups (social identification). We posit that both concerns generate increased benefits from participation. To test these theories, we use allocations in dictator games towards an unidentified anonymous recipient and two recipients identified only as a registered Democrat or a registered Republican. These allocations permit a distinction between altruism and social identification. The results show that both altruism and social identification significantly increase political participation. The results also demonstrate the usefulness of incorporating benefits that stem from sources beyond material self-interest into rational choice models of participation.

Suggested Citation

Fowler, James H. and Kam, Cindy D., Beyond the Self: Social Identity, Altruism, and Political Participation. Journal of Politics, Vol. 69, No. 3, pp. 811-825, August 2007. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1008023

James H. Fowler (Contact Author)

UC San Diego Division of Social Sciences ( email )

9500 Gilman Drive
Code 0521
La Jolla, CA 92093-0521
United States

HOME PAGE: http://jhfowler.ucsd.edu

UC San Diego School of Medicine ( email )

9500 Gilman Drive
MC 0507
La Jolla, CA 92093
United States

HOME PAGE: http://jhfowler.ucsd.edu

Cindy D. Kam

Vanderbilt University - Department of Political Science ( email )

VU Station B #351817
Nashville, TN 37235-1817
United States

Register to save articles to
your library

Register

Paper statistics

Downloads
224
Abstract Views
1,578
rank
134,675
PlumX Metrics