Promoting political agency, addressing political inequality: A multilevel model of internal political efficacy

Elizabeth Beaumont

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

59 Scopus citations

Abstract

Some roots of political inequality are planted early in life through linked disparities in individual background and sense of political agency and efficacy. Education often exacerbates these early political advantages. This article uses data from a study of undergraduates to examine whether some types of political learning can promote a sense of political confidence equitably'boosting efficacy for all without making the 'political haves' come out farther ahead. Multilevel analysis examines the role of their socioeconomic status, civic resources, and sociopolitical learning for internal efficacy achievement. The findings identify sociopolitical learning mechanisms that differently interact with individual background to contribute to political efficacy and political equality: experiences in a politically active community, acquiring skills for political action, engaging in political discourse, and inclusion in collaborative pluralist contexts. These aspects of political learning can enhance efficacy and reduce the influence of largely unchosen political advantages, creating an alternative pathway to political empowerment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)216-231
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Politics
Volume73
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 2011

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