Project Project
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Inequality of Political Participation

Project Management

Prof. Dr. Ulrich Kohler changed to the University of Potsdam in October 2012; further information on the project please find here.

It is well known that lower social strata participate in politics less frequently and intensely than the more well-to-do. However, international comparative studies have shown that the amount of social inequality in political participation differs strongly between societies. The project analyses causes and consequences of these differences. In particular, it focuses on the question of why are some democracies more successful at integrating the lower strata in the political system. Furthermore, it focuses on the conditions under which the so called "democratic dilemma" of unequal participation (Lijphardt) arises. Possible answers to these questions include differences in the electoral systems, as well as in the nature of the cleavages in the various societies.


Linking international comparative surveys like European Social Survey (ESS), European Quality of Life Survey (EQLS), International Social Survey Programme (ISSP) und Comparative Study of Elections Systems (CSES) together with aggregate indicators for election systems, welfare state regimes, etc.


Kohler, U. (2006), Die soziale Ungleichheit der Wahlabstinenz in Europa, in Jens Alber & Wolfgang Merkel, ed.,'Europas Osterweiterung: Das Ende der Vertiefung?', Edition Sigma, Berlin, pp. 159-182.