Why do political activists make such great sacrifices—even risking their “lives, fortunes and sacred honor”—when the expected payoff looks small? Without slighting the importance of non-material motives, we must recognize that activists and organizers may often be rewarded surreptitiously with new powers and disproportionate access to public goods.

Jerry K. Rohacek is a professor of economics at the University of Alaska in Anchorage.
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