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