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Cambridge Studies in Comparative Politics
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Table of Contents

1. Introduction: rethinking political participation; 2. Theories of voter participation: a review and a new approach; 3. Testing the costly abstention theory of turnout; 4. Theories of protest participation: a review and a new approach; 5. Testing the costly abstention theory of protest participation; 6. The emotional origins of collective action; 7. Conclusions: criticisms, extensions, and democratic theory.

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Using surveys, experiments, and fieldwork from several countries, this book tests a new theory of participation in elections and protests.

About the Author

S. Erdem Aytac is an assistant professor in the Department of International Relations at Koc University, Istanbul. He received his Ph.D. in political science from Yale University, Connecticut in 2014. Aytac's research interests lie in political behavior with a focus on democratic accountability and political participation. His previous work has appeared in the Journal of Politics, Comparative Political Behavior, British Journal of Political Science, Political Behavior, and the Journal of Conflict Resolution, among other journals. He is the recipient of the 2016 Young Scientist Award of Science Academy (Turkey) and the 2018 Sakyp Sabancy International Research Award. Susan C. Stokes is the Tiffany and Margaret Blake Distinguished Service Professor of Political Science at the University of Chicago.

Reviews

'Generations of scholars have puzzled over the reasons people vote and join protests. This book offers a unified theory supported by impressive evidence. Participation emerges, say S. Erdem Aytac and Susan C. Stokes, through an individual's balancing of the burdens of taking part with those of staying away; and the competing burdens involve moral tensions as well as social pressures. Engagingly written throughout, Why Bother? is resoundingly successful for both its multidisciplinary synthesis and its fresh analysis.' Timur Kuran, Gorter Family Professor of Islamic Studies, Duke University, North Carolina
'This beautifully written book offers a simple theory to explain popular behavior in elections and protests. Aytac and Stokes ask why people are sometimes not dissuaded from participation even when it becomes more difficult or dangerous. Why Bother? gives us hope that there are critical brakes on democratic backsliding. It comes at just the right moment.' Nicholas Valentino, University of Michigan
'It would be hard to overstate the importance of understanding the causal dynamics of political participation. And yet, despite massive social science investment in the topic, conventional theories in political science, sociology, and economics fail to explain empirical variation in participation. That's what makes Why Bother? so important. By taking seriously competing perspectives from different disciplines and attending to a range of real world cases, the authors have fashioned a compelling new theory of participation that promises to revolutionize our understanding of this most important political phenomenon.' Doug McAdam, Ray Lyman Wilbur Professor of Sociology, Stanford University, California
`Generations of scholars have puzzled over the reasons people vote and join protests. This book offers a unified theory supported by impressive evidence. Participation emerges, say S. Erdem Aytac and Susan C. Stokes, through an individual's balancing of the burdens of taking part with those of staying away; and the competing burdens involve moral tensions as well as social pressures. Engagingly written throughout, Why Bother? is resoundingly successful for both its multidisciplinary synthesis and its fresh analysis.' Timur Kuran, Gorter Family Professor of Islamic Studies, Duke University, North Carolina
`This beautifully written book offers a simple theory to explain popular behavior in elections and protests. Aytac and Stokes ask why people are sometimes not dissuaded from participation even when it becomes more difficult or dangerous. Why Bother? gives us hope that there are critical brakes on democratic backsliding. It comes at just the right moment.' Nicholas Valentino, University of Michigan
`It would be hard to overstate the importance of understanding the causal dynamics of political participation. And yet, despite massive social science investment in the topic, conventional theories in political science, sociology, and economics fail to explain empirical variation in participation. That's what makes Why Bother? so important. By taking seriously competing perspectives from different disciplines and attending to a range of real world cases, the authors have fashioned a compelling new theory of participation that promises to revolutionize our understanding of this most important political phenomenon.' Doug McAdam, Ray Lyman Wilbur Professor of Sociology, Stanford University, California

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