A Natural Experiment on Taste-Based Racial and Ethnic Discrimination in Elections

77 Pages Posted: 17 Feb 2017 Last revised: 2 May 2017

Evan J. Soltas

University of Oxford - Department of Economics

David E. Broockman

Stanford Graduate School of Business

Date Written: April 29, 2017

Abstract

We exploit a natural experiment to plausibly identify taste-based racial and ethnic discrimination in elections. In Illinois Republican presidential primaries, voters vote for delegate candidates bound to particular presidential candidates. Delegate candidates' names signal their race, but voters' incentives for statistical discrimination against nonwhite delegates are negligible. Examining delegate vote totals from 2000-2016, we estimate about 10 percent of voters avoid voting for nonwhite delegates. Due to the primary's structure, voters' discrimination undermines their preferred presidential candidates' nomination prospects and we estimate has altered political outcomes. Our estimates are robust to several possible confounds and vary as taste-based theories predict.

Keywords: Taste-Based, Racial Discrimination, Voter Behavior

JEL Classification: D72, J15

Suggested Citation

Soltas, Evan J. and Broockman, David E., A Natural Experiment on Taste-Based Racial and Ethnic Discrimination in Elections (April 29, 2017). Stanford University Graduate School of Business Research Paper No. 3499. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2919664

Evan J. Soltas

University of Oxford - Department of Economics ( email )

10 Manor Rd
Oxford, Oxfordshire OX1 3UQ
United Kingdom

David E. Broockman (Contact Author)

Stanford Graduate School of Business ( email )

655 Knight Way
Stanford, CA 94305-5015
United States

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