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Who is Empowering Who: Exploring the Causal Relationship Between Descriptive Representation and Black Empowerment

Gleason, Shane A.; Stout, Christopher T.

Journal of black studies. Volume 45:Number 7 (2014, October); pp 635-659 -- Sage Publications

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  • Title:
    Who is Empowering Who: Exploring the Causal Relationship Between Descriptive Representation and Black Empowerment
  • Author: Gleason, Shane A.;
    Stout, Christopher T.
  • Found In: Journal of black studies. Volume 45:Number 7 (2014, October); pp 635-659
  • Journal Title: Journal of black studies
  • Subjects: African Americans--Periodicals; Blacks--Periodicals; descriptive representation--efficacy--majority-minority districts--elections--genetic matching; Dewey: 305.896073
  • Rights: legaldeposit
  • Publication Details: Sage Publications
  • Abstract:

    Previous studies of descriptive representation have not been able to overcome the classic endogeniety problem. For example, do Black elected officials cause Blacks to be more empowered? Or are Black politicians only elected in contexts where Blacks are already empowered? We address this shortcoming by utilizing genetic matching and the 1996 National Black Election Study. Genetic matching creates a pseudo-experimental environment where Blacks in districts with Black elected officials are matched with similarly situated Blacks in districts without Black representation. This research design allows us to better assess the causality of descriptive representation and changes in political attitudes. This study provides strong evidence that higher levels of efficacy are a result of descriptive representation, rather than the cause of it. Thus, our study demonstrates Black office-holding at the congressional level empowers the Black electorate.


  • Identifier: System Number: LDEAvdc_100058157443.0x000001; Journal ISSN: 0021-9347; 10.1177/0021934714545343
  • Publication Date: 2014
  • Physical Description: Electronic
  • Shelfmark(s): ELD Digital store

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