We examine US city governments' use of fines and court fees for local revenue, a policy that disproportionately affects black voters, and the connections between this policy and black representation. Using data on over 9,000 cities, we show that the use of fines as revenue is common and that it is robustly related to the share of city residents who are black. We also find that black representation on city councils diminishes the connection between black population and fines revenue. Our findings speak to the potential of descriptive representation to alleviate biases in city policy.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Sociology and Political Science