A Natural Experiment on Discrimination in Elections
97 Pages Posted: 17 Feb 2017 Last revised: 15 Sep 2019
Date Written: September 13, 2019
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, the costs of discrimination to preferred presidential candidates, and heterogeneity support tastes as the likely mechanism.
Keywords: Taste-Based, Racial Discrimination, Voter Behavior
JEL Classification: D72, J15
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation