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Political Research Exchange

The Impact of Political Identities on Political Interest

Political Participation
 
Political Psychology
 
Political Engagement
 
Presenter
Markus Prior
Princeton University
Authors
Markus Prior
Princeton University

Abstract
The goal of this paper is to understand if political identities and individual salience of politics causally precede political interest. Political identities, often through attachment to a political party or ideological grouping, are among the most powerful influences on people’s political thinking and behavior. Whether they also affect political interest is not well known. According to some psychological models of interest, identity is a precursor or component of subjective value and thus makes political identity a prime candidate for explanations of interest in the domain of politics. Rapid feedback poses a severe challenge when it comes to the effects of political salience and identity on interest giving rise the threat of reverse causation. This paper uses annual panel data from Britain, Germany, and Switzerland that follow individuals for up to three decades to disentangle the relationship between political salience/identity and political interest. Analysis is carried out using simple graphical displays of change as well as dynamic panel models that instrument potentially endogenous predictors with prior lags.
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