Immigrant Group Size and Political Mobilization: Evidence from European Migration to the United States
AbstractImmigration to democratic nations generates new groups of potential voters. This paper investigates how the electorate share of immigrant groups influences their decision to become politically mobilized. I consider two mechanisms through which electorate share could impact an immigrant’s likelihood of voting: the contestability of local elections and the existence of ethnic social networks that facilitate political organization. Using newly assembled data on ethnic enclaves in American cities in the early twentieth century, I show immigrants were more likely to mobilize politically as their share of the local electorate grew larger, but only in places where the Democratic Party likely needed to their vote to win elections and where immigrants had established enclaves. I also consider the shape of the electorate share effect, showing it is nonlinear and in particular tapers off for groups larger than one fifth of the local electorate.
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 18827.
Date of creation: Feb 2013
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Find related papers by JEL classification:
- D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
- J15 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Minorities, Races, Indigenous Peoples, and Immigrants; Non-labor Discrimination
- N31 - Economic History - - Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, Religion, and Philanthropy - - - U.S.; Canada: Pre-1913
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-ALL-2013-03-16 (All new papers)
- NEP-CDM-2013-03-16 (Collective Decision-Making)
- NEP-MIG-2013-03-16 (Economics of Human Migration)
- NEP-POL-2013-03-16 (Positive Political Economics)
- NEP-URE-2013-03-16 (Urban & Real Estate Economics)
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