Clarifying the role of SES in political participation: Policy threat and Arab American mobilization

Wendy K.Tam Cho, James G. Gimpel, Tony Wu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Although there is much empirical support for the causal connection between higher socioeconomic status (SES) and political participation, there are ample instances of lower SES individuals participating and higher SES individuals abstaining from participation. Apparently other factors send some similarly situated individuals down the expected path and cause others to detour. In the same vein, several bodies of political science literature suggest that threatening circumstances can be politically motivating, but mobilization does not always follow. Our analysis of Arab American participation patterns suggests that the effects of socioeconomic status are mediated by socialization experiences and policy threat. If the political learning process includes the apprehension of worrisome government policy actions, it may provide the motivation for participation from those who have the ability to participate, but heretofore have chosen not to do so.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)977-991
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Politics
Issue number4
StatePublished - Nov 2006
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science


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