Social media and political mobilization

Project leader

Prof Leonid Polishchuk

Project participants

Ruben Enikolopov, Professor, University Pompeu Fabra, Spain

Alexei Makar’in, PhD student, Northwestern University, USA

Maria Petrova, Professor, University Pompeu Fabra, Spain

Project period

March 2012 - ongoing

Project description

The project develops a theory and uses empirical evidence to explain the mechanism of political mobilization and collective action that was at work during the 2011-2012 political protests in Russia. It is argued that the surge of protests was driven by a peer effect enhanced by social media. While this mechanism was sufficient to power up protests over a short period of time, it failed to sustain massive political participation in longer term. The project gives evidence of the “strength of weak ties” effect in political participation by making use of social media communication data.

Related publications

Polischuk L. Institutional Performance, in: The Oxford Handbook of the Russian Economy / Ed. by S. Weber, M. V. Alexeev. Oxford : Oxford University Press, 2013.

Events in connection with the project

Project results were presented at:

Project results were presented at:

International conference "Winter of Russian Discontent conference" (UCRS, Uppsala, 2013). Presentation “Social Capital and Collective Action in Russia: Voice and Exit” by Leonid Polishchuk

17th Annual Conference of The International Society for New Institutional Economics  (Florence, 2013). Presentation "Social Networks, Peer Effects, and Protest Participation" by Ruben Enikolopov (Institute for Advanced Study, New Economic School), Alexey Makarin (Higher School of Economics, New Economic School), Maria Petrova (PrincetonUniversity, New Economic School) and Leonid Polishchuk (Higher School of Economics)

Seminar at the Institute for East and Southeast European Studies (Regensburg, 21May 2014). Presentation "Value shift in the Russian society: Causes, patterns, and political implications" by Leonid Polishchuk