A quarter century of the Voting Rights Act: Black office holding in county governments in the US South
The Voting Rights Act (VRA) of 1965 put in place special measures (known as coverage) which have been recently struck down by the Supreme Court as no longer needed. Yet, the extent to which these key provisions have advanced descriptive representations of African Americans remains moot, since we still do not know how they affected black office holding in county governments across the US South. Using a novel dataset on the universe of southern county governments, we study how the VRA affected black representation in county commissions, local judiciary and enforcement bodies in the 25 years after its passage. By exploiting exogenous differences in coverage across 11 southern states we find that, between 1964 and 1990, counties with larger pre-VRA shares of blacks in covered states experienced a larger increase in the share of black elected officials than counties in non-covered states. We also find that the impact of coverage varied depending on electoral rules, as single member districts were more favourable to minorities than at-large or mixed electoral systems.
Date: 25 January 2019, 12:45 (Friday, 2nd week, Hilary 2019)
Venue: Manor Road Building, Manor Road OX1 3UQ
Venue Details: Seminar Room D
Speaker: Andrea Bernini (University of Oxford)
Organising department: Department of Economics
Part of: Gorman Workshop
Booking required?: Not required
Audience: Members of the University only
Editor: Melis Clark