Channels of participation: Political participant types and personality

David Johann, Markus Steinbrecher, Kathrin Thomas

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Abstract

This article employs a person-centred approach to test the relationship between personality traits and empirically defined political participant types. We argue that it is more appropriate to focus on types of participants to test the relationship between personality and political participation than on individual modes or latent dimensions of political participation. Our reasoning is that the person-centred approach allows us to learn more about how and why citizens combine different modes of participation from a tool kit of available political activities to achieve a goal as a function of their personality. We rely on data collected by the German Longitudinal Election Study 2017 (GLES, ZA6801). On the basis of a set of survey questions enquiring on political activities that people take part in, Latent Class Analysis allows us to identify three political participant types (inactives, voting specialists, and complete activists). The 10-item Big Five Inventory (BFI-10) measures respondents' personality traits. Our findings suggest that conscientious people are more likely to affiliate with the voting specialists and extroverts with the more active participant types in Germany.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0240671
Number of pages13
JournalPloS ONE
Volume15
Issue number10
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 29 Oct 2020

Keywords

  • Personality
  • personality traits
  • Elections
  • Germany
  • Transportation
  • Emotions
  • Factor analysis
  • surveys

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