A Natural Experiment on Discrimination in Elections

102 Pages Posted: 17 Feb 2017 Last revised: 28 Jan 2020

See all articles by David E. Broockman

David E. Broockman

University of California, Berkeley - Department of Political Science

Evan J. Soltas

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics

Date Written: January 27, 2020

Abstract

We exploit a natural experiment to study discrimination in elections. In Illinois Republican presidential primaries, voters vote for delegates bound to presidential candidates, but delegates' names convey information about their race and gender. We identify discrimination from variation in vote totals among delegates bound to the same presidential candidate and who face the same voters. Examining delegate vote totals from 2000 to 2016, we estimate nonwhite delegates receive 9 percent fewer votes. We find essentially no gender discrimination. Negligible incentives for statistical discrimination, costs to preferred presidential candidates, and heterogeneity are consistent with an interpretation of this behavior as taste-based.

Keywords: Taste-Based, Racial Discrimination, Voter Behavior

JEL Classification: D72, J15

Suggested Citation

Broockman, David E. and Soltas, Evan J., A Natural Experiment on Discrimination in Elections (January 27, 2020). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2919664 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2919664

David E. Broockman (Contact Author)

University of California, Berkeley - Department of Political Science ( email )

210 Barrows Hall
Berkeley, CA 94720
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.davidbroockman.com

Evan J. Soltas

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics ( email )

Cambridge, MA
United States

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