Protests, civic engagement, COVID-19, savings, wealth, assets


The summer of 2020 was marked by widespread protests. Though research has often examined the predictors of protest participation, there exists little work examining the relationship between different types of wealth and protesting. Drawing on resource-based theories of protest participation and asset-based theories of civic engagement, we constructed regression models disentangling relationships between income, liquid assets, investment assets, homeownership, and protesting. Using a national survey administered during the protests, we find that liquid assets are negatively associated, homeownership is positively associated, and investment assets exhibit a non-linear association with protesting. These relationships hold when controlling for income, demographics, and ideology, but largely disappear when controlling for measures of economic vulnerability. These results are consistent across different protest types. Our work speaks to the role of protests as a means of political participation for economically marginalized groups and contributes to our knowledge of the intersection between economic indicators and political behaviors. Further, this work highlights how individual and contextual factors influence political behavior in varied ways, which has implications for protest organizers, civic engagement promoters, as well as policies aimed at protecting the right to protest.

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