Why Bother? Rethinking Participation in Elections and Protests


Tuesday, April 3, 2018, 12:00pm to 2:00pm


CGIS South, S250, 1730 Cambridge Street

susanstokesSpeaker: Susan Stokes, Chair, Council on Latin American and Iberian Studies; John S. Saden Professor of Political Science; Director, Yale Program on Democracy, Yale University

Moderator: Steven Levitsky, Professor of Government at Harvard University

In their forthcoming (Cambridge University Press, 2018) book with this same title, Erdem Aytaç and Susan Stokes develop and test a theory of why people take part in collective action in politics: why they turn out to vote and why they go into the streets to demonstrate. Their theory explains real-world patterns that are anomalies for existing theories, such as that people take part when they care about the collective outcomes and that sometimes increases in costs of participation lead people to participate more, not less. They test their theory with original observational and experimental data from Brazil, Britain, Turkey, Ukraine, and the U.S.

Susan Stokes' research interests include democratic theory and how democracy functions in developing societies; distributive politics; and comparative political behavior. Her co-authored book, Brokers, Voters, and Clientelism (Cambridge, 2013) won best-book prizes from the Comparative Politics (Luebbert Prize) and Comparative Democratization sections of APSA. Among her earlier books, Mandates and Democracy: Neoliberalism by Surprise in Latin America (Cambridge, 2001), received prizes from the APSA Comparative Democratization section and from the Society for Comparative Research. Her articles have appeared in journals such as the American Political Science Review, World Politics, and the Latin American Research Review. She teaches courses on political development, political parties and democracy, comparative political behavior, and distributive politics.

Sue’s research has been supported by the National Science Foundation, the Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, the MacArthur Foundation, Fulbright, the American Philosophical Society, and the Russell Sage Foundation. She is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.