Persistent Political Engagement: Social Interactions and the Dynamics of Political Movements
What drives individuals to persistently engage in political movements? We test whether participation in one protest within a political movement increases subsequent protest attendance. We also examine the mechanisms underlying persistent political engagement, considering changes in individuals’: (i) political beliefs; (ii) political preferences; and, (iii) social interactions. To identify an effect of past protest participation, we randomly incentivize Hong Kong university students into participation in an antiauthoritarian protest. To identify the effects of social interactions, we cross-randomize the intensity of this treatment across major-cohort cells. We find that experimentally-induced protest attendance does not significantly change political beliefs or preferences one year later. However, experimentally-induced past participation is significantly associated with protest attendance one year later, with persistent political engagement greatest among individuals in the cells with highest treatment intensity. Evidence on the formation of new friendships indicates that social interactions supported sustained political engagement.

Written with Leonardo Bursztyn (University of Chicago), Davide Cantoni (University of Munich), David Yang (Harvard University) and Jane Zhang (HKUST)
Date: 15 May 2019, 12:30 (Wednesday, 3rd week, Trinity 2019)
Venue: Manor Road Building, Manor Road OX1 3UQ
Venue Details: Lecture Theatre
Speaker: Noam Yuchtman (University of Oxford)
Organising department: Department of Economics
Organisers: Margaryta Klymak (Department of International Development), Rossa O'Keeffe-O'Donovan (Nuffield College), Michael Koelle (Pembroke College)
Organiser contact email address:
Part of: CSAE Lunchtime Seminars
Booking required?: Not required
Audience: Public
Editors: Suzanne George, Melis Clark, Anna Siwek