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Voluntary Association Membership in Fifteen Countries: A Comparative Analysis

James E. Curtis, Edward G. Grabb and Douglas E. Baer
American Sociological Review
Vol. 57, No. 2 (Apr., 1992), pp. 139-152
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2096201
Page Count: 14
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
Voluntary Association Membership in Fifteen Countries: A Comparative Analysis
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Abstract

We test the hypothesis, dating from the work of Weber and Tocqueville, that Americans are more likely to become involved in voluntary associations than people of other nations. Compared to previous work, we employ more recent data and consider more countries. We also examine several different measures of membership levels: all memberships versus working memberships as well as membership including and excluding church or union memberships. Cross-national differences are examined before and after controls for education, employment status, size of community, gender, marital status, and age. Results show Americans at or near the top on most measures of membership, although this ranking drops significantly when church membership is excluded and drops even further when only working memberships are examined. In these instances, people from several countries, including Canada, Australia, the Netherlands, Northern Ireland, Norway, and Sweden, equal or surpass the membership levels of Americans, especially when controls are introduced. Some alternative interpretations of the cross-national differences in voluntary association activity are considered.

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