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Do Black Mayors Improve Black Relative to White Employment Outcomes? Evidence from Large US Cities

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  • John V.C. Nye
  • Ilia Rainer
  • Thomas Stratmann

Abstract

To what extent do politicians reward voters who are members of their own ethnic or racial group? Using data from large cities in the United States, we study how black employment outcomes are affected by changes in the race of the cities’ mayors between 1973 and 2004. We find that relative to whites, black employment and labor force participation rise, and the black unemployment rate falls, during the tenure of black mayors. Black employment gains in municipal government jobs are particularly large, which suggests that our results capture causal effects of black mayors. Black mayors also lead to higher black incomes relative to white incomes. We show that our results continue to hold when we compare the treated cities to alternative control groups of cities, explicitly control for changing attitudes towards blacks or use regression discontinuity analysis to compare cities that elected black and white mayors in close elections. (JEL D7, H7, J7)

Suggested Citation

  • John V.C. Nye & Ilia Rainer & Thomas Stratmann, 2015. "Do Black Mayors Improve Black Relative to White Employment Outcomes? Evidence from Large US Cities," Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 31(2), pages 383-430.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:jleorg:v:31:y:2015:i:2:p:383-430.
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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1093/jleo/ewu008
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    Cited by:

    1. repec:eee:jeborg:v:143:y:2017:i:c:p:58-77 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Egidio Farina, 2017. "They win, I leave: the impact of the Northern League party on foreign internal migration," Working Paper Series 0617, Department of Economics, University of Sussex Business School.
    3. Ebonya L. Washington, 2011. "Do Majority Black Districts Limit Blacks' Representation? The Case of the 1990 Redistricting," NBER Working Papers 17099, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Egidio Farina, 2017. "Politics and crime in black & white," Working Paper Series 0217, Department of Economics, University of Sussex Business School.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D7 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making
    • H7 - Public Economics - - State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations
    • J7 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor Discrimination

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