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Segregation and Black Political Efficacy


  • Ananat, Elizabeth Oltmans

    (Duke U)

  • Washington, Ebonya

    (Yale U)


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 greater divergence between Black and non-Black political views in the most segregated areas. Because Blacks are a minority in every MSA, increased divergence by race implies that the mean Black voter viewpoint is farther away from the mean voter viewpoint. Thus, reduced Black political efficacy may be one reason that Blacks in exogenously more segregated areas experience worse economic outcomes.

Suggested Citation

  • Ananat, Elizabeth Oltmans & Washington, Ebonya, 2008. "Segregation and Black Political Efficacy," Working Papers 30, Yale University, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:ecl:yaleco:30

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Washington, Ebonya, 2006. "How Black Candidates Affect Voter Turnout," Working Papers 16, Yale University, Department of Economics.
    2. repec:cup:apsrev:v:60:y:1966:i:03:p:640-654_13 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. 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.
    4. Ebonya Washington, 2006. "How Black Candidates Affect Voter Turnout," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 121(3), pages 973-998.
    5. 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.
    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.
    7. 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.
    8. Ebonya Washington, 2006. "How Black Candidates Affect Voter Turnout," NBER Working Papers 11915, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior

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