In this paper the authors test the hypothesis that local economic concentration is associated with decreased levels of civic participation. They define economic concentration as a social context in which a small number of corporate establishments or industries dominate a local economy. They argue that economic concentration leads to a monolithic power structure and generates civic apathy because the needs of the corporation override those of the local population.
To test this hypothesis, combined data from the 2000 Social Capital Benchmark Survey and the County Business Patterns is analyzed. Findings indicate that local economic concentration is negatively associated with traditional electoral participation and protest activities.
The authors conclude by discussing implications for current theoretical work on civic community, embedded within the empirical decline in U.S. civic engagement over the past three decades.