Weather to Protest: The Effect of Black Lives Matter Protests on the 2020 Presidential Election

28 Pages Posted: 23 Mar 2021

See all articles by Bouke Klein Teeselink

Bouke Klein Teeselink

Yale School of Management

Georgios Melios

University College London

Date Written: March 22, 2021

Abstract

Do mass mobilizations bring about social change? Prior research provides mixed findings on whether large-scale collective action helps protesters further their cause. This paper adds new evidence to this debate by investigating the causal impact of racial injustice protests on the 2020 presidential election. Following the death of G. P. Floyd Jr. on 25 May 2020, a series of Black Lives Matter protests erupted across the US. Using cross-county variation in rainfall as an exogenous source of variation in protests, we document a marked shift in support for the Democratic candidate in counties that experienced more protesting activity. As a consequence, BLM protests might have tilted the election in favor of the democratic party. We additionally document that BLM protests did not affect the overall turnout rate, which suggests that the increase in Democratic support primarily resulted from a progressive shift among undecided voters.

Keywords: Collective Action, Black Lives Matter, Presidential Elections, Protests, IV

Suggested Citation

Klein Teeselink, Bouke and Melios, Georgios, Weather to Protest: The Effect of Black Lives Matter Protests on the 2020 Presidential Election (March 22, 2021). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3809877 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3809877

Bouke Klein Teeselink (Contact Author)

Yale School of Management ( email )

165 Whitney Ave
New Haven, CT 06511

Georgios Melios

University College London ( email )

Gower Street
London, WC1E 6BT
United Kingdom

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