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Segregation and Black Political Efficacy

Author

Listed:
  • Elizabeth Oltmans Ananat
  • Ebonya L. Washington

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

  • Elizabeth Oltmans Ananat & Ebonya L. Washington, 2007. "Segregation and Black Political Efficacy," NBER Working Papers 13606, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:13606
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    File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w13606.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Washington, Ebonya, 2006. "How Black Candidates Affect Voter Turnout," Working Papers 16, Yale University, Department of Economics.
    2. 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.
    3. repec:cup:apsrev:v:90:y:1996:i:04:p:794-812_20 is not listed on IDEAS
    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. Ebonya Washington, 2006. "How Black Candidates Affect Voter Turnout," NBER Working Papers 11915, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    Cited by:

    1. Robert Bifulco & Delia Furtado & Stephen L. Ross, 2009. "Why Are Ghettos Bad? Examining the Role of the Metropolitan Educational Environment," Working papers 2009-30, University of Connecticut, Department of Economics.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
    • J15 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Minorities, Races, Indigenous Peoples, and Immigrants; Non-labor Discrimination

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