Racial environment and political participation

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Title: Racial environment and political participation
Author: Matsubayashi, Tetsuya
Abstract: This research addresses the determinants of mass participation by developing a model of how the racial environment influences mass participation in the United States . Prior literature on this research question presents two competing expectations . The power -threat hypothesis predicts that a larger size of different racial groups in local areas increases citizen participation because of more intensive interracial con - flicts , while the relational goods hypothesis predicts that a larger size of different racial groups decreases participation because of less frequent interaction with other in -group members . Both hypotheses , however , are derived from rather weak theoretical expectations , and neither is consistently supported in empirical analyses . This research offers a solution to this puzzle by arguing that economic and political characteristics of local areas determine how the racial composition influences mass participation . Local economic and political competition is expected to structure the nature of interracial and intraracial relations and therefore influence the utility calculation associated with political participation . I hypothesize that the power -threat effect on citizen participation is observed only when the degree of economic or political competition is high , while the relational goods effect is observed only when the degree of economic or political competition is low . Empirical analysis using Verba , Schlozman , and Brady ?s Citizen Participation Study offers supportive evidence for my hypotheses . This research offers the first theoretically -motivated , rigorous analysis and evidence of the impact of immediate racial environment on individuals ? participation .
URI: http : / /hdl .handle .net /1969 .1 /ETD -TAMU -1600
Date: 2009-05-15

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Racial environment and political participation. Available electronically from http : / /hdl .handle .net /1969 .1 /ETD -TAMU -1600 .

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