African American Turnout and African American Candidates

Luke J. Keele, Ismail K. White

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Do minority voters respond to co-racial or co-ethnic candidates? That is does the increased chance of substantive representation translate into increased participation? Here, we focus on this question among African American voters. While much of the empirical literature on this question has produced conflicting answers, recent studies suggest that minority candidates can significantly increase minority turnout. We argue that past work on this topic does not adequately account for the fact that minority voters in places with minority candidates may systematically differ in their level of participation than minority voters in places without minority candidates. In this study we address the weaknesses of previous research designs and offer a new design that exploits the redistricting process to gain additional leverage over this question. We find little evidence that African American voter turnout increases when voters are moved to African American candidates. We find some evidence that white voters, however, tend to vote at lower rates when they are represented by African American candidates.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)431-449
Number of pages19
JournalPolitical Science Research and Methods
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 1 2019
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Political Science and International Relations


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