Social Image, Networks, and Protest Participation
54 Pages Posted: 24 May 2018 Last revised: 6 May 2020
Date Written: April 26, 2020
Social motivation plays a vital role in electoral participation, political contributions, and charitable donations. We examine the role of social image concerns in the decision to participate in political protests. We develop a dynamic model of protest participation, where socially-minded individuals use protest participation to signal their type. We then test predictions of the model using individual and city-level data from 2011-2012 political protests in Russia. We report several findings, consistent with the theory. First, list experiment results from a specially conducted survey imply that social signaling motives indeed were important for the decision to participate in protests. Second, participation in online protest groups increased offline protest participation. Third, participation in protests was associated with higher social capital in a city. Finally, the importance of both online social networks and offline social capital for protest participation diminished over time.
Keywords: social image, political participation, protests, social media
JEL Classification: D72, C31
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation