The Effect of Policy Disagreement and Emotions on Participation

35 Pages Posted: 13 Jul 2012 Last revised: 7 Sep 2012

See all articles by Carl L. Palmer

Carl L. Palmer

Illinois State University - Department of Politics and Government

John D. Griffin

University of Notre Dame - Department of Political Science

Date Written: September 5, 2012

Abstract

Are citizens motivated to participate in politics by their reactions to public policies? What role does emotion play in this process? We should know more about the policy origins of political participation, as participation is a key component of accountability, which is vital for the functioning of representative democracy. Citizens who are voting because they are motivated by issues are almost certainly much more likely to rely on issue content when evaluating candidates and to convey issue information when they participate in political activities beyond voting. We conduct a survey experiment to assess whether policy disagreement affects citizens’ emotional state and motivates their intended participation in political activities. We find, consistent with the existing literature, that anger increases intended political participation, while policy disagreement has varied effects depending on whether subjects’ emotions are suppressed.

Keywords: emotions, disagreement, participation

Suggested Citation

Palmer, Carl L. and Griffin, John D., The Effect of Policy Disagreement and Emotions on Participation (September 5, 2012). APSA 2012 Annual Meeting Paper, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2105202

Carl L. Palmer (Contact Author)

Illinois State University - Department of Politics and Government ( email )

433 Schroeder Hall
Normal, IL 61790
United States

John D. Griffin

University of Notre Dame - Department of Political Science ( email )

217 O'Shaughnessy Hall
Notre Dame, IN 46556
United States

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