Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly vol:42 issue:1 pages:174-192
Since de Tocqueville’s visit to the United States, it has become common knowledge that people in civic associations are more civic-minded: they display higher levels of political interest, tolerance, social and political trust. The question remains, however, whether young people are socialized through associations or self-select into associations. This article aims to untangle this relationship using a representative panel of 16 and 18-year old Belgian students by focusing on deliberative associations. The results show that both self-selection and socialization effects play a role with respect to political interest, but not for other political attitudes and that long-lasting engagement and membership in multiple associations have the strongest socializing effect.