Do Black Mayors Improve Black Employment Outcomes? Evidence from Large U.S. Cities
John V. Nye
George Mason University - Department of Economics; National Research University Higher School of Economics
George Mason University
George Mason University - Buchanan Center Political Economy; CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute); Harvard University - Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics
April 6, 2010
To what extent do politicians reward voters who are members of their own ethnic or racial group? Using data from large cities in the United States, we study how black employment outcomes are affected by changes in the race of the cities’ mayors between 1971 and 2003. We find that black employment and labor force participation rise, and the black unemployment rate falls, during the tenure of black mayors both in absolute terms and relative to whites. Black employment gains in municipal government jobs are particularly large, which suggests that our results capture the causal effects of black mayors. We also find that the effect of black mayors on black employment outcomes is stronger in cities that have a large black community. This suggests that electoral incentives may be an important determinant of racial favoritism. Finally, we also find that, corresponding to increases in employment, black income is higher after black mayors take office. Again, this effect is pronounced in cities with a large black population.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 53
Keywords: Race, Ethnicity, Discrimination, Employment, Urban Politics
JEL Classification: D7, R28, J15, J78
Date posted: April 6, 2010 ; Last revised: November 5, 2013
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