Seminar 218, Psychology and Economics: Persistent Political Engagement: Social Interactions and the Dynamics of Protest Movements

Seminar | October 1 | 2-3:30 p.m. | 648 Evans Hall

 Leonardo Bursztyn, University of Chicago

 Department of Economics

Working paper available here.

ABSTRACT: We test whether participation in one protest within a political movement increases subsequent protest attendance, and why. To identify an effect of protest participation, we randomly, indirectly incentivize Hong Kong university students into participation in an antiauthoritarian protest. To identify the effects of social interactions, we randomize the intensity of this treatment across major-cohort cells. We find that experimentally-induced protest participation is significantly associated with protest attendance one year later, though political beliefs and preferences are unaffected. Persistent political engagement is greatest among individuals in the cells with highest treatment intensity, suggesting that social interactions sustained persistent political engagement.