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Naturalization, Socialization, Participation: Immigrants and (Non-)Voting

Socioeconomic theories have long been the cornerstone of political participation studies. However, these theories are incomplete and particularly unsuited to explaining behavior found within immigrant minority communities. While increases in age and education provide skills that ease political participation, if these variables do not concurrently socialize an individual to stronger beliefs about the efficacy of voting and democratic ideals, they will not result in the expected higher participation levels. Prior studies oversimplify the effects of socioeconomic status on political participation. Here, evidence is presented that socioeconomic status variables merely provide the skills necessary for political activity in a suitable political context. Socialization determines how these skills will be manifested.