The Political Marginalization of Latinos: Evidence from Three Field Experiments
52 Pages Posted: 24 Jun 2016
Date Written: June 21, 2016
Elected officials have clear electoral incentives to respond to their constituents, however recent experimental studies find evidence of racial bias. We contribute to the growing literature on representation and responsiveness by investigating discrimination against Latinos, the largest minority group in the United States. Through a series of three field experiments at both the national and state level, we examine whether race and immigration status affect how responsive legislators are to constituent requests for assistance. Our analysis reveals that strategic partisan behavior, not racial group membership best explains the differential treatment we observe. Republican legislators are significantly less responsive to undocumented Latino immigrants than they are to white citizens. Democrats, in contrast, do not discriminate against undocumented Latinos. These results indicate that racial minority groups in the United States have dissimilar political experiences and that undocumented Latinos in particular face barriers to inclusion.
Keywords: Latinos, Representation, Responsiveness, Experiment
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation