Why Do Asian Americans Identify as Democrats? Testing Theories of Social Exclusion and Intergroup Solidarity

57 Pages Posted: 13 Apr 2014  

Alexander Kuo

Cornell University

Neil A. Malhotra

Stanford Graduate School of Business

Cecilia Hyunjung Mo

Vanderbilt University

Date Written: February 25, 2014

Abstract

Asian Americans are overwhelmingly likely to identify as Democrats. This is surprising given that (1) income and voting for the Republican Party are highly correlated, and (2) Asians are the most affluent ethnic group in the United States. We focus on two explanations to address this puzzle: social exclusion and intergroup solidarity. Social exclusion arises from Asians' perceptions that they are viewed as less "American," and associate these feelings with the Republican Party. Additionally, Asians exhibit intergroup solidarity; they believe they have common interests with other ethnic minorities that already support the Democratic Party. As a result, Asians align themselves politically with these groups rather than whites. Using a large-scale representative survey and two experimental studies, we find empirical support for both hypotheses. Our findings speak to identity-oriented explanations of political behavior in American electoral politics as well as conceptions of political parties as coalitions of groups.

Suggested Citation

Kuo, Alexander and Malhotra, Neil A. and Mo, Cecilia Hyunjung, Why Do Asian Americans Identify as Democrats? Testing Theories of Social Exclusion and Intergroup Solidarity (February 25, 2014). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2423950 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2423950

Alexander Kuo

Cornell University ( email )

Neil A. Malhotra

Stanford Graduate School of Business ( email )

655 Knight Way
Stanford, CA 94305-5015
United States

Cecilia Hyunjung Mo (Contact Author)

Vanderbilt University ( email )

Nashville, TN 37240
United States

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