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Do Black Mayors Improve Black Employment Outcomes? Evidence from Large U.S. Cities

52 Pages Posted: 13 Apr 2010 Last revised: 5 Nov 2013

John V. Nye

George Mason University - Department of Economics; National Research University Higher School of Economics

Ilia Rainer

Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC)

Thomas Stratmann

George Mason University - Buchanan Center Political Economy; CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute)

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Date Written: April 13, 2010

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

Nye, John V. and Rainer, Ilia and Stratmann, Thomas, Do Black Mayors Improve Black Employment Outcomes? Evidence from Large U.S. Cities (April 13, 2010). GMU Working Paper in Economics No. 10-11. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1589138 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1589138

John V. C. Nye

George Mason University - Department of Economics ( email )

4400 University Drive
Fairfax, VA 22030
United States
703-993-4272 (Phone)

National Research University Higher School of Economics

Myasnitskaya street, 20
Moscow, Moscow 119017
Russia

Ilia Rainer

Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) ( email )

450 Fifth Street, NW
Washington, DC 20549-1105
United States

Thomas Stratmann (Contact Author)

George Mason University - Buchanan Center Political Economy ( email )

4400 University Drive
Fairfax, VA 22030
United States
703-993-2330 (Phone)

CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute)

Poschinger Str. 5
Munich, DE-81679
Germany

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