America's Uneven Democracy: Race, Turnout, and by Zoltan L. Hajnal

By Zoltan L. Hajnal

Even supposing there's a common trust that asymmetric voter turnout ends up in biased results in American democracy, latest empirical exams have came across few results. by way of delivering a scientific account of ways and the place turnout issues in neighborhood politics, this publication demanding situations a lot of what we all know approximately turnout in the US this present day. It demonstrates that low and asymmetric turnout, an element at play in so much American towns, ends up in sub-optimal results for racial and ethnic minorities. Low turnout leads to losses in mayoral elections, much less equitable racial and ethnic illustration on urban councils, and skewed spending regulations. the significance of turnout confirms lengthy held suspicions concerning the under-representation of minorities and increases normative issues approximately neighborhood democracy. thankfully, this booklet bargains an answer. research of neighborhood participation shows small switch to neighborhood election timing - a reform that's budget friendly and comparatively effortless to enact- may perhaps dramatically extend neighborhood voter turnout.

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Extra info for America's Uneven Democracy: Race, Turnout, and Representation in City Politics

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The view here is that local governments are driven by economic considerations while political inputs – including voting – make little difference (Buchanan 1971, Logan and Molotch 1987, Peterson 1981, Tiebout 1956). Peterson (1981), in particular, argued that a city’s policy choices are constrained by competition with other cities over mobile capital and labor. 9 Unfortunately, neither side has been able to offer anything that directly tests the turnout hypothesis. At most, pluralists have illustrated a correlation between turnout and outcomes in a small set of cases.

Even Peterson (1981) readily admits that economic competition represents only one part of the story of urban politics. In short, while there is a heated debate about how local government works, there is little in the way of clear tests. Research Design To see whether and how turnout matters in the local level, the rest of the book focuses on three aspects of the local political arena: 9 In line with this reasoning, other researchers have identified a large number of cities where politics is dominated by a pro-growth focus and spending policies that encourage economic development (Elkin 1987, Logan and Molotch 1987).

This, I suggested, was more likely at the local level where turnout is exceptionally low. Second, groups that vote less must have different preferences from those that vote more. Only if nonvoters favor different choices can their entry into an electoral contest affect the outcome. Whether these kinds of divisions are greater at the local level than other levels is unclear. Third, and finally, the groups who vote less regularly must be large enough to have a say if they did vote. I suggested that this is also a condition that is more likely at the local level given the uneven geographic distribution of the population.

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