Essays on political representation
Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Dept. of Political Science.
James M. Snyder, Jr.
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The central goal of this dissertation is to contribute to our understanding of the link between political representation and policy outcomes. In particular, this collection of essays examines how the institutional arrangements and formal processes that precede and initiate political representation either promote or hinder the representation of various interests in society and thus determine whose interests shape public policies. The first chapter studies the relationship between descriptive representation of traditionally underrepresented minority groups and substantive representation of their interests. Examining the impact of increased African American representation from the early 1970s to the late 1990s, the chapter demonstrates that legislative representation of historically marginalized groups can lead to tangible changes in public policies. The second chapter attempts to understand why legislative representation of minority groups in American society remains low, even to this day. This chapter disentangles the impact of candidates' race on voting decisions from that of candidates' ideology, by focusing on the case of the representation of African Americans.(cont.) Using extensive individual-level voting data as well as a unique data set on candidates' ideological positions, the chapter shows that minority candidates' race negatively influences voting decisions of white voters only when partisan and ideological cues are absent. The third chapter analyzes the impact of electoral institutions on political representation and policy outcomes. It provides empirical evidence that political units receive larger intergovernmental transfers, when represented by at-large delegations than when represented by delegations elected from single-member districts.
Thesis (Ph. D.)--Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Dept. of Political Science, 2006.Includes bibliographical references.
DepartmentMassachusetts Institute of Technology. Dept. of Political Science.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology