For Work / Against Work
Debates on the centrality of work

"Learning about Democracy at Work: Cross-National Evidence on Individual Employee Voice Influencing Political Participation in Civil Society"

by Budd, John W; Lamare, J Ryan; Timming, Andrew R (2018)


Using European Social Survey data, this article analyzes the extent to which individual autonomy and participation in decision making at the workplace are linked empirically to individual political behaviors in civil society. The results, which are consistent with the hypothesis of a positive outward democratic spillover from the workplace to the political arena, point to the possibility of a learning effect. Much of the literature studies small samples in a single country, whereas we analyze more than 14,000 workers across 27 countries. The results do not appear to be driven by specific countries, which suggests that this spillover effect is a general phenomenon across a variety of institutional contexts, although some features of a countrys electoral system moderate some of the results.

Key Passage

Using a sample of more than 14,000 European workers, we find that employees with greater levels of individual autonomy and voice at work are indeed significantly more likely to engage in a broad array of prodemocratic behaviors. This relationship appears just as strong as the commonly accepted relationship between trade unions and political participation, and appears to be a distinct relationship apart from this collective voice sphere. (p.979)


Democracy, Political Participation, Empirical Study, Democratic Theory


Republicanism, Democracy and Work

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