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Race, Representation and Local Governments in the US South: the effect of the Voting Rights Act

Andrea Bernini, Giovanni Facchini () and Cecilia Testa

No 12774, CEPR Discussion Papers from C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers

Abstract: The Voting Rights Act of 1965 opened elective offices to blacks in the US South, but systematic evidence on its immediate effects remains scant. Using a novel data-set on black elected officials between 1964-1980, we assess the causal impact of the VRA on the racial make-up of local governments. Since the VRA mandated federal scrutiny (coverage) over a group of Southern counties, we deploy a differences-in-differences estimation strategy using non-covered counties as a comparison group. Our results show that coverage doubled the extent to which black enfranchisement led to gains in black office-holding, particularly among bodies controlling local public finances.

Keywords: Black Representation; Local Elections; Public Good Provision; Voting Rights Act (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: D72 J15 N92 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-cdm, nep-his, nep-lab, nep-law, nep-pol and nep-ure
Date: 2018-03
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