Munich Personal RePEc Archive


Ginzburg, Boris (2019): Slacktivism. Forthcoming in: Journal of Theoretical Politics

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Many countries have introduced e-government petitioning systems, in which a petition that gathers a certain quota of signatures triggers some political outcome. This paper models citizens who choose whether to sign such a petition. Citizens are imperfectly informed about the petition's chance of bringing change. The number of citizens is large, while the cost of signing is positive but low. I show that a petition that can bring change succeeds by a strictly positive margin. Hence, a citizen signing the petition is almost surely not pivotal. On the other hand, a petition that cannot bring change still gathers the required number of signatures when citizens are not very well informed, implying a failure of information aggregation.

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