The Politically Active Altruistic Individual: What is the effect of altruism on political participation and political orientation?
Wout, M.E. van 't
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A persistent problem of the existing models of political behaviour is that they are heavily related on the assumption of the rational citizen, neglecting thereby the fact that people can also behave altruistically. In the political science this is problematic because empirical facts regarding voter turnout cannot be explained using costs-benefits analysis only. An important question therefore remains whether the model of the self-interested citizen is still relevant for predicting political participation and political orientation, if it turns out these phenomena do not stem from pure self-interest but from altruistic beliefs. In addition, there is no consensus on the effect of altruism on left-right political orientation. Also, the effect of altruism on two-dimensional scales including progressive-conservative orientation has not been studied before. In this article I test the effect altruism on voter turnout, joining demonstrations, left-right political orientation and progressive-conservative orientation by using logistics regression analysis with data obtained from the European Social Survey wave 9 in the Netherlands. The main findings suggest that in the Netherlands, individuals who score high on altruism are more likely to place themselves on the left side of the left/right political scale and to vote for progressive oriented political parties instead of conservative oriented political parties.