Graduation Year

Spring 2013

Document Type

Campus Only Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts

Department

Economics

Reader 1

Yaron Raviv

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Rights Information

© 2013 Amer Shalan

Abstract

A basic problem for a rational choice theory of mass political action is to explain why average citizens would participate in such behavior, since they have nothing to gain by participating (they won’t receive compensation for participating but will receive the public good if they participate or not) but much to lose (it can be costly and harmful to participate). According to the rational theory, the incentive to participate must come from the expectation of receiving selective benefits; but since average citizens in a general case cannot expect substantial private material rewards, the relevant benefits must be psychological in nature. A public goods model is proposed stating that the value of revolution in terms of public goods can be a relevant incentive for participation. Using data from surveys conducted in Egypt, we investigate the relationship between participation in mass political action and measures of the incentives of public goods. Hypotheses of the public goods model are supported.

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