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Segregation and Black political efficacy

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  • Ananat, Elizabeth Oltmans
  • Washington, Ebonya

Abstract

The impact of segregation on Black political efficacy is theoretically ambiguous. On one hand, increased contact among Blacks in more segregated areas may mean that Blacks are better able to coordinate political behavior. On the other hand, lesser contact with non-Blacks may mean that Blacks have less political influence over voters of other races. As for non-Blacks, inter-group conflict theory suggests that greater contact yields greater conflict between the groups while inter-group contact theory suggests exactly the reverse. We investigate this question empirically. We find that exogenous increases in segregation lead to decreases in Black civic efficacy, as measured by an ability to elect Representatives who vote liberally and more specifically in favor of legislation that is favored by Blacks. This tendency for Representatives from more segregated MSAs to vote more conservatively arises in spite of the fact that Blacks in more segregated areas hold more liberal political views than do Blacks in less segregated locales. We find evidence that this decrease in efficacy is driven by more conservative attitudes amongst non-Blacks in more segregated areas.

Suggested Citation

  • Ananat, Elizabeth Oltmans & Washington, Ebonya, 2009. "Segregation and Black political efficacy," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 93(5-6), pages 807-822, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:pubeco:v:93:y:2009:i:5-6:p:807-822
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. David M. Cutler & Edward L. Glaeser & Jacob L. Vigdor, 1999. "The Rise and Decline of the American Ghetto," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 107(3), pages 455-506, June.
    2. Ebonya Washington, 2006. "How Black Candidates Affect Voter Turnout," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 121(3), pages 973-998.
    3. Stephen Coate & Michael Conlin, 2004. "A Group Rule–Utilitarian Approach to Voter Turnout: Theory and Evidence," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(5), pages 1476-1504, December.
    4. Washington, Ebonya, 2006. "How Black Candidates Affect Voter Turnout," Working Papers 16, Yale University, Department of Economics.
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    6. Elizabeth Oltmans Ananat, 2007. "The Wrong Side(s) of the Tracks Estimating the Causal Effects of Racial Segregation on City Outcomes," NBER Working Papers 13343, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    8. David M. Cutler & Edward L. Glaeser, 1997. "Are Ghettos Good or Bad?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 112(3), pages 827-872.
    9. Ebonya Washington, 2006. "How Black Candidates Affect Voter Turnout," NBER Working Papers 11915, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    10. repec:cup:apsrev:v:90:y:1996:i:04:p:794-812_20 is not listed on IDEAS
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    Cited by:

    1. Shertzer, Allison, 2016. "Immigrant group size and political mobilization: Evidence from European migration to the United States," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 139(C), pages 1-12.
    2. Uslaner, Eric, 2011. "Contact, Diversity, and Segregation," SULCIS Working Papers 2011:5, Stockholm University, Linnaeus Center for Integration Studies - SULCIS.
    3. repec:eee:exehis:v:67:y:2018:i:c:p:40-61 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Trevon D. Logan, 2018. "Do Black Politicians Matter?," NBER Working Papers 24190, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Halberstam, Yosh & Knight, Brian, 2016. "Homophily, group size, and the diffusion of political information in social networks: Evidence from Twitter," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 143(C), pages 73-88.
    6. Logan, Trevon D. & Parman, John M., 2017. "The National Rise in Residential Segregation," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 77(01), pages 127-170, March.
    7. Lévêque, Christophe & Saleh, Mohamed, 2016. "Does Industrialization Affect Segregation? Evidence from Nineteenth-Century Cairo," IAST Working Papers 16-63, Institute for Advanced Study in Toulouse (IAST), revised May 2017.
    8. Mele, Angelo, 2013. "Poisson indices of segregation," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 43(1), pages 65-85.
    9. Hinrichs, Peter, 2014. "An Empirical Analysis of Racial Segregation in Higher Education," Working Paper 1435, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland.

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    Keywords

    Voting behavior Race;

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