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Valuing the Vote: The Redistribution of Voting Rights and State Funds Following the Voting Rights Act of 1965

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  • Elizabeth U. Cascio
  • Ebonya L. Washington

Abstract

The Voting Rights Act of 1965 (VRA) has been called one of the most effective pieces of civil rights legislation in U.S. history, having generated dramatic increases in black voter registration across the South. We show that the expansion of black voting rights in some southern states brought about by one requirement of the VRA - the elimination of literacy tests at voter registration - was accompanied by a shift in the distribution of state aid toward localities with higher proportions of black residents, a finding that is consistent with models of distributive politics. Our estimates imply an elasticity of state transfers to counties with respect to turnout in presidential elections - the closest available measure of enfranchisement - of roughly one.

Suggested Citation

  • Elizabeth U. Cascio & Ebonya L. Washington, 2012. "Valuing the Vote: The Redistribution of Voting Rights and State Funds Following the Voting Rights Act of 1965," NBER Working Papers 17776, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:17776
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Timothy Besley & Anne Case, 2003. "Political Institutions and Policy Choices: Evidence from the United States," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 41(1), pages 7-73, March.
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    4. Sarah J. Reber, 2011. "From Separate and Unequal to Integrated and Equal? School Desegregation and School Finance in Louisiana," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 93(2), pages 404-415, May.
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    11. Husted, Thomas A & Kenny, Lawrence W, 1997. "The Effect of the Expansion of the Voting Franchise on the Size of Government," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 105(1), pages 54-82, February.
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    Cited by:

    1. Hoffman, Mitchell & León, Gianmarco & Lombardi, María, 2017. "Compulsory voting, turnout, and government spending: Evidence from Austria," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 145(C), pages 103-115.
    2. Godefroy, Raphael & Henry, Emeric, 2016. "Voter turnout and fiscal policy," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 89(C), pages 389-406.
    3. Shertzer, Allison, 2016. "Immigrant group size and political mobilization: Evidence from European migration to the United States," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 139(C), pages 1-12.
    4. León, Gianmarco, 2017. "Turnout, political preferences and information: Experimental evidence from Peru," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 127(C), pages 56-71.
    5. Graziella Bertocchi & Arcangelo Dimico, 2017. "De jure and de facto determinants of power: evidence from Mississippi," Constitutional Political Economy, Springer, vol. 28(4), pages 321-345, December.
    6. repec:eee:deveco:v:129:y:2017:i:c:p:29-46 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. Trevon D. Logan, 2018. "Do Black Politicians Matter?," NBER Working Papers 24190, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. Thushyanthan Baskaran & Mariana Lopes da Fonseca, 2017. "Appointed Public Officials and Local Favoritism: Evidence from the German States," CESifo Working Paper Series 6800, CESifo Group Munich.
    9. William J. Collins & Michael Q. Moody, 2017. "Racial Differences in American Women's Labor Market Outcomes: A Long-Run View," NBER Working Papers 23397, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    10. Eoin McGuirk & Nathaniel Hilger & Nicholas Miller, 2017. "No Kin In The Game: Moral Hazard and War in the U.S. Congress," NBER Working Papers 23904, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    11. Daniel B. Jones & Werner Troesken & Randall Walsh, 2012. "A Poll Tax by any Other Name: The Political Economy of Disenfranchisement," NBER Working Papers 18612, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    12. Marcella Alsan & Marianne Wanamaker, 2016. "Tuskegee and the Health of Black Men," NBER Working Papers 22323, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    13. repec:mod:depeco:0001 is not listed on IDEAS
    14. Ran Abramitzky, 2015. "Economics and the Modern Economic Historian," NBER Working Papers 21636, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
    • H7 - Public Economics - - State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations
    • I2 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education
    • J15 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Minorities, Races, Indigenous Peoples, and Immigrants; Non-labor Discrimination
    • N32 - Economic History - - Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, Religion, and Philanthropy - - - U.S.; Canada: 1913-

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