A Natural Experiment on Discrimination in Elections

95 Pages Posted: 17 Feb 2017 Last revised: 25 Mar 2019

See all articles by David E. Broockman

David E. Broockman

Stanford Graduate School of Business

Evan J. Soltas

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

Date Written: March 21, 2019

Abstract

We exploit a natural experiment to identify 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. We estimate nonwhite delegates receive 10 percent fewer votes, costing voters’ preferred presidential candidates votes and reducing nonwhite representation. We find essentially no gender discrimination. Negligible incentives for statistical discrimination, the costs of discrimination to preferred candidates, and heterogeneity support tastes as the likely mechanism.

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 (March 21, 2019). Stanford University Graduate School of Business Research Paper No. 3499. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2919664

David E. Broockman (Contact Author)

Stanford Graduate School of Business ( email )

655 Knight Way
Stanford, CA 94305-5015
United States

Evan J. Soltas

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

Cambridge, MA
United States

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