Industrial Work and Political Participation: Beyond Simple Spillover

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Publication Date


Publication Title

Political Research Quarterly


Sociology & Anthropology


We suggest that the "simple political spillover" hypothesis—that participation in decision making at work increases the probability of participating in poli tics outside the workplace—ought to be respecified in such a way that it takes into account (1) the possible differential effects on political participation of direct and representational forms of decisional participation at work; (2) the possibility that the pathway between workplace and political participation is mediated by the former's impact on psychological outlooks; and (3) the pos sibility that participation in decision making in economically troubled enter prises may diminish political participation. Using a sample of 1,247 workers from producer cooperative, employee stock ownership, conventional union, and conventional non-union wood products mills, we show that this more complex spillover model gives us a better understanding of the linkages be tween workplace and political experiences.