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Social Science Research

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Why are some people, but not others, asked to engage in civic activity? Rather than focus on the personal traits of either potential recruits or recruiters for this initial stage of recruitment, we develop and test a theoretical framework that emphasizes the importance of shared relationships and characteristics between those doing the recruiting and those being recruited. Specifically, the nature of interactions, overlapping community and associational space, status and value homophily, and strength and intimacy are assessed to explain differential recruitment among people's closest ties. Furthermore, unlike previous studies, we do so across three different forms of civic activity - blood donation, volunteer work, and political activism - allowing us to identify larger patterns in civic solicitation. Results from multilevel analyses of dyads reorganized from ego-centric data of U.S. adults show that while certain personal traits of egos and alters remain significant, attributes of the dyad are equally, if not more, consequential for explaining variation in who gets asked to participate in civic activity. Importantly, while certain dyadic characteristics - such as romantic partnerships - promote recruitment to all three forms of civic activity, the effects of others - such as sex homophily - are unique to specific forms. Broadly speaking, our results indicate that some types of dyadic characteristics are more powerful than others and that there are important differences in how particular dimensions of social connections shape recruitment efforts across the specific activities of donating blood, volunteering time, and engaging in political activism.


Anthropology | Social and Behavioral Sciences | Sociology

Publication Date




Available for download on Wednesday, January 01, 3000