Sidney Verba
In memory of

Sidney Verba
Harvard University | Harvard · Office of Technology Development

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86
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Publications

Publications (86)
Article
Full-text available
Reports published in Washington emphasize the concern of those who direct the Vietnam-related policy for gaining public support for US intervention in Vietnam. Surely no president has read the results of certain surveys with more attention than Johnson, on this particular issue. It’s therefore relevant and important to investigate the type of infor...
Article
Full-text available
Growing economic inequality fosters inequality in the political processes of American democracy. Since the 1970’s inequalities in earnings and wealth have increased dramatically in the United States creating a higher level of inequality in disposable income than in other developed democracies. The United States also lags behind other rich nations i...
Article
This article documents the prevalence in organized interest politics in the United States of organizations—for example, corporations, think tanks, universities, or hospitals—that have no members in the ordinary sense and analyzes the consequences of that dominance for the democratic representation of citizen interests. We use data from the Washingt...
Article
The American creed stresses political equality and political involvement, but substantial political inequality still persists from one generation to the next. Despite the importance of political inequality, not enough is known about the mechanisms that reproduce it. Political socialization research has focused on the transmission of political attit...
Chapter
Citizens in American democracy have many channels for the expression of political voice, one among them being organized interest politics in Washington. But the representation of citizen preferences and needs in organized interest politics is neither universal nor representative. That is, not all voices speak equally loudly in organized advocacy po...
Book
Politically active individuals and organizations make huge investments of time, energy, and money to influence everything from election outcomes to congressional subcommittee hearings to local school politics, while other groups and individual citizens seem woefully underrepresented in our political system. This book is a comprehensive and systemat...
Chapter
This chapter maps the terrain of political activity by organizations using systematic empirical data to reveal something about the political voice emerging from organized involvement in various domains of national politics. For various domains of organizational activity, the chapter characterizes categories of organizations with respect to the like...
Chapter
This chapter examines the evolution of the Washington pressure community, assessing changes in the number and distribution of active organizations over a twenty-five-year span. Of special concern is whether these patterns—in particular, the strong representation of business interests in contrast to the economic interests of less economically advant...
Chapter
This chapter reiterates the findings so far discussed in this volume, and discusses how this book has helped to not only bring to light the persistent inequalities of political voice, but also contributed to the cause of equality of political voice and its tandem issues. After all, the inequalities of political voice this book has documented so ext...
Chapter
This chapter focuses on changes that would have the result of making the participatory input from individuals and organizations more representative of the American public in terms of a variety of politically relevant attributes—not only such demographic characteristics as social class, race, gender, or age but also preferences and needs for governm...
Chapter
This chapter reviews evidence about two complex trends: the increase in economic inequality and the decrease in union membership. In two fundamental ways, class inequalities underlie this inquiry into both the roots and the consequences of inequalities of political voice. Inequalities of political participation are, first, grounded in disparities i...
Chapter
This chapter investigates three conditions under which inequalities of political voice would not make a difference. That is, the chapter asks if political voice, even though not universal, were representative; if public officials were not responsive to what they hear through the medium of citizen participation; or if they made special efforts to le...
Chapter
This chapter considers several kinds of data that might show evidence of reinforcing or ameliorating tendencies in the paucity of organized representation for the resource deprived. It investigates whether, within any category, the organizations that have Washington representation are stratified by organizational size or budget. The chapter uses su...
Chapter
This chapter investigates the differential voice of the advantaged and the disadvantaged. It first considers whether the participatory advantage of those who are high in socio-economic status (SES) persists over time and, in particular, whether the widely noted increase in economic inequality since the late 1970s has been matched by increasing soci...
Chapter
This chapter considers to what extent political recruitment can bring in a more representative set of activists and thus moderate the accent of the political chorus. It investigates ways to break a cycle deeply embedded in ongoing social and political processes, zeroing in on the possibility that the processes by which people are recruited to polit...
Chapter
This chapter uses systematic data collected for the Washington Representatives Study to inquire into the kinds of interests that are represented by organizations in national politics and the extent to which that configuration approximates equality of political voice. The survey presented here has made clear that, for all the variety in the interest...
Chapter
This chapter looks at the potentially democratizing impact of the Internet on political participation, and asks both individuals and organizations the same kinds of questions already posed earlier regarding whether processes of political recruitment can alter familiar participatory patterns. If the Internet is bringing new people and new organizati...
Chapter
This chapter considers the place of equality, in all its complexity, in the American civic culture. It draws evidence from several sources: the debates occasioned by the drafting and ratification of the federal constitution, Supreme Court decisions, the fifty constitutions of the separate states, and public opinion as measured in surveys over the p...
Chapter
This chapter uses evidence about political activity to shed light on two puzzles. First, the chapter considers why, in a two-party system with equal voting, contrary to the logic of the median voter model, the majority who have incomes at the lower end of the economic ladder do not use their voting power to foster public policies that redistribute...
Chapter
This chapter briefly engages multiple themes regarding American democracy and the “political voice.” Here, political voice is understood as any activity undertaken by individuals and organizations that has the intent or effect of influencing government action—either directly by affecting the making or implementation of public policy, or indirectly...
Chapter
This chapter demonstrates how the United States deviates from the ideal of equal voice. It is based on the premise that equal consideration of the interests and preferences of all citizens is an important component of democratic governance. Equal consideration depends on equal political voice. Those who express political voice—by voting or otherwis...
Chapter
This chapter takes into account information about parents' education and political involvement and about the home political environment, which adds another dimension to the persistence of inequalities of political voice. These processes, in short, work across generations. Those who had well-educated parents are, for two reasons, more likely to be p...
Chapter
This chapter considers the disparities in political activity on the basis of age and what their implications for the representation of the opinions, concerns, and needs of all are. It attempts, in short, to analyze life-cycle, cohort, and period effects. Life-cycle effects refer to the social, psychological, and physical changes that take place as...
Chapter
This chapter considers several matters that complicate the understanding of inequalities of political voice through organized interests. It first differentiates between, on the one hand, the view of organized interest influence that emerges from the periodic scandals involving the use of illicit cash and favors to buy policy benefits from public of...
Chapter
Full-text available
When we began this project, neither Facebook nor Twitter existed. As we concluded, we recognized that not only are politicians, even politicians who came of age in the era of radio, learning to take advantage of the communications capacities of rapidly changing social media, but political organizations are confronting the prospects offered by-and t...
Article
Full-text available
Using an August 2008 representative survey of Americans conducted by the Pew Internet & American Life Project, we investigate the consequences of Internet-based political activity for long-standing patterns of participatory inequality. There is little evidence of change in the extent to which political participation is stratified by socioeconomic s...
Article
What is the impact of the possibility of political participation on the Internet on long-standing patterns of participatory inequality in American politics? An August 2008 representative survey of Americans conducted by the Pew Internet and American Life Project provides little evidence that there has been any change in the extent to which politica...
Article
Full-text available
The exercise of political voice goes to the heart of democracy. By their political participation citizens seek to control who will hold public office and to influence what policymakers do when they govern. In voting and other political participation, citizens communicate information about their preferences and needs and generate pressure on public...
Article
We investigate how inequalities in political participation are shaped across generations by considering the influence of family background--in particular, parents' education and political involvement--on political participation. We pursue this issue, first, for individuals, investigating the effects of parental characteristics on the participatory...
Article
Why, after several generations of suffrage and a revival of the women's movement in the late 1960s, do women continue to be less politically active than men? Why are they less likely to seek public office or join political organizations? The Private Roots of Public Action is the most comprehensive study of this puzzle of unequal participation. Th...
Article
Rational actor theory and the facts of political participation have long been in an uneasy relationship. Many citizens vote and take part in other political activities when theory would predict that they would take a free ride. This paper draws on several analyses of citizen participation for some of which rational actor theory is quite useful and...
Article
A survey of the American public is used to model citizen political recruitment as a two-stage process. First, those who recruit others to become active in politics seek likely activists through "rational prospecting." Second, they seek acquiescence to their requests. We model each part of the process, delineating the characteristics of individuals...
Article
This paper proposes a multistage, interactive model that takes into account selection processes into nonpolitical institutions, processes by which participatory factors are allocated within institutions, and the forward linkage to political activity to explain the small but persistent gender gap in political participation. Using OLS regression and...
Chapter
This paper develops a resource model of political participation. The resources considered are time, money, and civic skills—those communications and organizational capacities that are essential to political activity. These skills are not only acquired early in life but developed in the nonpolitical institutional settings of adult life: the workplac...
Article
This paper demonstrates that women are less politically interested, informed, and efficacious than men and that this gender gap in political engagement has consequences for political participation. Only when gender differences in political interest, information, and efficacy are considered along with gender differences in resources can we explain t...
Article
This study uses regression analysis of data from a telephone survey of 380 married couples to subject to rare empirical test the contention that, because women are unequal at home, they cannot be equal in the polity. The argument is often made that wives' disadvantage in comparison to their husbands with respect to control over family income, avail...
Article
Gender differences are considered in relation to citizen participation, an aspect of politics subject to more speculation than data when it comes to what Carol Gilligan so aptly termed "a different voice." Male and female activists specialize in different forms of activity, derive different gratifications from taking part, and bring different polic...
Article
Political participation has long been a puzzle for political science analysis. The logic of collective action suggests that activity to achieve collective goals is irrational; yet citizens are active. In this article, we approach the subject from the point of view of political activists, using survey data to consider their own interpretations of wh...
Article
In this investigation of the voluntary participation of men and women, we find that even when the definition of activity is broadened beyond the electoral forms of activity usually considered, men are a bit more active in politics than women. However, the pattern across activities does not conform to the expectations generated by the literature. In...
Article
Full-text available
This article uses data from the Citizen Participation Study – a large-scale survey of the voluntary activity of the American public designed to oversample African-Americans and Latinos as well as political activists – to inquire about the extent and sources of differences in levels of political activity among African-Americans, Latinos and Anglo-Wh...
Article
Full-text available
We use responses to a large-scale national survey designed to oversample political activists to investigate the extent to which participant publics are representative of the public as a whole. Building upon the finding that while voters differ from nonvoters in their demographic attributes, their attitudes as measured by responses to survey questio...
Article
Reviews of this book: "With this book [Sidney Verba] adds to his series of stimulating and influential studies of values and political life...One wishes that more books in political science these days had a subject as crucial to political life, as rich in comparative empirical data, as creative and sophisticated in methodological approaches, and a...
Article
In this survey of political participation in seven nations—Nigeria, Austria, Japan, India, the Netherlands, Yugoslavia, and the United States—the authors examine the relationship between social, economic, and educational factors and political participation.
Article
Participation in America represents the largest study ever conducted of the ways in which citizens participate in American political life. Sidney Verba and Norman H. Nie addresses the question of who participates in the American democratic process, how, and with what effects. They distinguish four kinds of political participation: voting, campaigni...
Article
Foreign policy seems to command more public attention than domestic policy and yet—insofar as it has been, researched—public opinion on foreign policy seems to have less impact on governmental decisions than does opinion in most other issue areas. There are at least two reasons, one normative and one empirical, why public opinion can be regarded as...