Descriptive or Partisan Representation? Examining Trade-Offs for Asian Americans

90 Pages Posted: 3 Jan 2024

See all articles by John Cho

John Cho

Yale University - Department of Political Science

Mia Costa

Dartmouth College - Department of Government

Yusaku Horiuchi

Dartmouth College - Department of Government

Date Written: December 4, 2023

Abstract

Do voters want representatives who share their race, ethnicity, or partisanship? We examine this question with a focus on Asian Americans who face trade-offs between descriptive (i.e., Asian American or "pan-ethnic") and partisan representation, as well as trade-offs involving "co-ethnic" (e.g., Korean for Korean) and "cross-ethnic" (e.g., Indian for Korean) descriptive representation. Across two experiments, we find that when Asian Americans are asked about collective representation in Congress, they prioritize increased co-ethnic and pan-ethnic legislators over co-partisan legislators. However, in a competitive electoral setting, they often trade off race/ethnicity for partisanship. Asian Americans are sometimes willing to cross party lines to vote for a co-ethnic candidate but never for a cross- or pan-ethnic candidate. These findings shed light on the importance of considering heterogeneous preferences along ethnicities within the same racial "in-groups," such as Asian Americans, a heavily understudied and heterogeneous group in American politics.

Keywords: descriptive representation, Asian Americans, conjoint analysis, survey experiment

JEL Classification: D72

Suggested Citation

Cho, John and Costa, Mia and Horiuchi, Yusaku, Descriptive or Partisan Representation? Examining Trade-Offs for Asian Americans (December 4, 2023). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4654880 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.4654880

John Cho

Yale University - Department of Political Science ( email )

Box 208269
New Haven, DC 06520-8269
United States

Mia Costa

Dartmouth College - Department of Government ( email )

Hanover, NH
United States

Yusaku Horiuchi (Contact Author)

Dartmouth College - Department of Government ( email )

204 Silsby Hall
HB 6108
Hanover, NH 03755
United States

HOME PAGE: http://horiuchi.org

Do you have negative results from your research you’d like to share?

Paper statistics

Downloads
14
Abstract Views
75
PlumX Metrics