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A Theory of Partisan Sorting and Geographic Polarization

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  • L. Jason Anastasopoulos

Abstract

I propose a mechanism for partisan sorting and geographic polarization which is tested using the mass migration of African-Americans from New Orleans to Houston, Texas in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. According to the Migration-Polarization (MP) Theory, diversity-increasing migration events induce flight (migration) among ideological conservatives. These changes, in turn, produce geographically polarized spaces along partisan lines. Using an exogenous shock to African-American student enrollment in Houston schools as the result of Hurricane Katrina, evacuee data from apartment buildings in Harris Country and a variety of empirical tools including synthetic controls, I demonstrate that African-American Katrina migration led to Republican flight, declines in housing values and geographic polarization.

Suggested Citation

  • L. Jason Anastasopoulos, 2014. "A Theory of Partisan Sorting and Geographic Polarization," Working Paper 163861, Harvard University OpenScholar.
  • Handle: RePEc:qsh:wpaper:163861
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