Prior studies on perceptions of structural disadvantage and injustice, efficacy, and collective action have suffered from two major limitations: (1) they have used single-country samples, usually of economically advanced countries, and (2) generally theorized and investigated perceptions of structural injustice and efficacy separately. Drawing on value-expectancy theory, we provide an integrated theory to predict direct and conditional effects of efficacy and perceptions of structural disadvantage and injustice on collective action within countries. To address the limitations of previous research, we use cross-national data of 29 countries, including economically advanced and less advanced nations, to test how well these hypotheses explain within-country variation in collective action. We find that internal efficacy is significantly and positively associated with low- and moderate-cost collective action, whereas organizational embeddedness, a proxy for political efficacy, is significantly and positively associated with low-, moderate-, and high-cost collective action. Perceptions of legitimate and unjust structural disadvantage are also positively associated with all types of collective action. Importantly, the positive effects of both types of efficacy on high-cost collective action are conditional on perceptions of structural injustice. That is, participation in high-cost collective action is more likely for those who are both efficacious and perceive structural disadvantage as unjust.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Sociology and Political Science