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Title Risk-Participation Paradox in Political Protests
Post date 01/28/2019
C1 Background and Explanation of Rationale

It seems obvious that fear of the negative consequences of participation impede protest action. If there is a high chance of police attack on a public demonstration, sympathizers are less willing to participate. Research results, however, show a more complex picture. Sociologists and psychologists (e.g. Opp and Roehl 1990; Opp and Gern 1993; Opp 1994, Ayanian; Tausch 2016) reveal a positive correlation between perceived risks and participation in demonstrations. The more risky demonstrating is considered to be, the higher the willingness to participate. Although these results contradict the basic assumptions of sociologists' rational action theory, the risk-protest relation remains under-researched by political sociologists and social movement specialists.

The aim of the project is to analyse the link between perceived risks and willingness to demonstrate.

We will analyse whether the two different forms of the perceived risks (physical and non-physical retribution) increase or decrease the willingness to participate in government-critical demonstrations.

Experiments on the risk-participation relation is rare, and focused solely on authoritarian, non-democratic regimes. Moreover, in those studies, only trait based measurement has been used to measure risk perception. In our study, instead, we induce risk perception by using vignettes.

C2 What are the hypotheses to be tested?

H1 (Influence of partisan identity hypothesis): The evaluation of information on current risks of participation in anti-government protests depends on partisan identity. Any such information increases (decreases) the stated risk perception of anti-government (pro-government) sympathizers.

H2 (Rational choice hypothesis): The change of the perceived level of risk associated with participation in political protests is positively correlated with the change of the willingness to participate in such protests.

C3 How will these hypotheses be tested? *

The change of the perceived level of risk associated with participation in political protests is induced by a short vignette with a realistic description of punishment of opposition supporters participating in anti-government protests.

We use two types of vignettes: (1) physical retribution: the text covers a story about police attacks, where protesters were beaten by police. (2) non-physical retribution: the text covers a story about an ordinary man, who was fired, because of his protest participation. Both stories based on real news reports, however we changed the names, and places.

We distinguish anti-government and pro-government sympathizers. We expect that in the group of citizens with pro-government (anti-government) attitudes, information on current risks of participation in anti-government protests decreases (increases) the stated risk perception, and increases (decreases) willingness to participate in political protests. We define the two aforementioned groups by dichotomizing the answers to the following question: "If you think about the period since Viktor Orban has been elected in 2010, what would you say, how satisfied are you with the achievements of the government?" Dissatisfied scores (1 to 3) are coded as dissatisfied, anti-government attitude, and satisfied (5 to 7) are coded as satisfied, pro-government attitude. We compare these two groups (satisfied, pro-government and dissatisfied, anti-government groups)

We use a buttery of risk perception indicators comprises 4 items.

Finally, we measure willingness to participate in political demonstrations with the question:
Would you or would you not to protest against a government action you strongly opposed? (on a scale of 1 to 6)

C4 Country Hungary
C5 Scale (# of Units) 1000
C6 Was a power analysis conducted prior to data collection? No
C7 Has this research received Insitutional Review Board (IRB) or ethics committee approval? No
C8 IRB Number not provided by authors
C9 Date of IRB Approval not provided by authors
C10 Will the intervention be implemented by the researcher or a third party? a professional online polling firm
C11 Did any of the research team receive remuneration from the implementing agency for taking part in this research? No
C12 If relevant, is there an advance agreement with the implementation group that all results can be published? No
C13 JEL Classification(s) not provided by authors