Quarterly Journal of Political Science > Vol 16 > Issue 4

Friends Don't Let Friends Free Ride

Nicholas Eubank, Duke Social Science Research Institute, USA, nick@nickeubank.com , Dorothy Kronick, Department of Political Science, University of Pennsylvania, USA, kronick@sas.upenn.edu
Suggested Citation
Nicholas Eubank and Dorothy Kronick (2021), "Friends Don't Let Friends Free Ride", Quarterly Journal of Political Science: Vol. 16: No. 4, pp 533-557. http://dx.doi.org/10.1561/100.00020143

Publication Date: 18 Oct 2021
© 2021 N. Eubank and D. Kronick
Civil conflict,  Game Theory,  Political Networks,  Social Movements
Political participationsocial networkspolitical networkssocial movementscollective action


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In this article:
Context: Collective Action in Venezuela 
Theory: Networks and Political Participation 
Data: Communication Centrality and Participation 
Results: Communication Centrality and Political Participation 


Theory predicts that social sanctioning can solve the collective action problem, but only when people find out whether their peers participate. We evaluate this prediction using data from the near-universe of cell phone subscribers in Venezuela. Those whose behavior is more easily observed by peers are much more likely to protest and much more likely to sign a political petition than otherwise similar people in less-visible social network positions. Together with qualitative and survey data, we interpret this finding as evidence that social network structure can facilitate (or frustrate) social sanctioning as a solution to the collective action problem.