Conventional and unconventional political participation in times of financial crisis in the Netherlands, 2002-2012

Rik Linssen, Peer Scheepers, Manfred te Grotenhuis, Hans Schmeets*

*Corresponding author for this work

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In this contribution, we investigate the extent to which the recent financial crisis has affected levels of political participation in general and more particularly within privileged and underprivileged societal groups in the Netherlands. We derive competing and complementary theoretical propositions about the possible effects of the economic downturn on conventional and unconventional modes of political participation. Economic decline might mobilize people to voice their concerns in the political arena, especially via unconventional modes of political participation such as demonstrating. As privileged societal groups are more likely to participate in politics, economic decline may widen the initial differences between privileged and underprivileged societal groups in their level of political participation. We use the Dutch Parliamentary Election Studies collected before (2002-2006), at the onset of the Eurocrisis (2006-2010) and after prolonged periods of recession (2008-2012) to empirically assess these competing claims. Our results show a slight decrease in conventional modes of political participation and a slight increase in unconventional modes of political participation during the recent financial and economic crisis. We do not find that the relationship between the economic crisis and political participation changes significantly differently for privileged and underprivileged groups in the Netherlands.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)283-304
Number of pages22
JournalActa Politica
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2018


  • Political participation
  • Economic crisis
  • Protesting
  • The Netherlands

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