Some politics is local: the determinants of engagement in local and national politics across Europe
- Political engagement,
- political discussion,
- local politics,
- geographical scale,
Copyright (c) 2020 João Cancela
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
Understanding the roots of political engagement has been one of the critical tasks performed by students of comparative political behaviour. This paper adds to the literature by examining the determinants of political discussion about local and national affairs in Europe. A series of multilevel logit models are fitted to the data (n = 28,563 from 31 European countries) to test the individual and country level determinants of political discussion about local and national matters. At the individual level, we find that gender, the type of community, the type of civil society organisations people are members of, and their level of education affect the type of politics they engage with. At the macro level, citizens from countries with a higher economic development are more likely to engage in discussions about national affairs, while the impact of local government autonomy does not seem to make individuals more likely to engage in discussions about local politics. The findings suggest that if local politics is considered the share of politically disengaged citizens can be smaller than is typically estimated. The full range of democratic practice may thus remain underappreciated if non-national politics is left out of the picture in the study of political engagement.