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Do Majority-Black Districts Limit Blacks’ Representation? The Case of the 1990 Redistricting

  • Ebonya Washington
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    Conventional wisdom and empirical academic research conclude that creating majority-black districts decreases black representation by increasing conservatism in Congress. However, this research generally suffers from three limitations: too low a level of aggregation, lack of a counterfactual, and failure to account for the endogeneity of the creation of majority-minority districts. I compare congressional delegations from states that during the 1990 redistricting were under greater pressure to create majority-minority districts with those under lesser pressure using a difference-in-differences framework. I find no evidence that the creation of majority-minority districts leads to more conservative House delegations. In fact, point estimates, although largely statistically insignificant, indicate that states that increased their shares of majority-black districts saw their delegations grow increasingly liberal. I find similar results for majority-Latino districts in the Southwest. Thus, I find no evidence for the common view that majority-minority districts decrease minority representation in Congress.

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    Article provided by University of Chicago Press in its journal The Journal of Law and Economics.

    Volume (Year): 55 (2012)
    Issue (Month): 2 ()
    Pages: 251 - 274

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    Handle: RePEc:ucp:jlawec:doi:10.1086/661991
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