REPRESENTING BLACK INTERESTS AND PROMOTING BLACK CULTURE: The ; Importance of African American Descriptive Representation in the U.S. ; House Journal Article uri icon



  • Despite considerable examination, scholars have yet to definitively ; establish the relationship between a legislator's racial background ; and his or her legislative activities. We assess the relationship between ; descriptive and substantive representation by discerning whether Black ; members of the U.S. House are more likely to promote group interests in ; their varied capacities as elected officials than are similarly positioned ; non-Black legislators. Our empirical tests utilize the most appropriate ; econometric models and techniques to analyze data from four Congresses ; spanning two distinctive districting regimes and incorporating several ; elements of representational behaviors. The findings are clear: Black ; members represent group interests more vociferously than non-Black ; members, including liberal non-Black Democrats from similar districts. ; Moreover, because Black members do not receive electoral benefits for ; engaging in such behavior, these legislators have policy-based motivation ; for representing Black interests. These results have profound practical ; implications for minority political representation and the future of ; identity politics.

publication date

  • September 1, 2005

Full Author List

  • Baker A; Cook C

Other Profiles

Additional Document Info

start page

  • 227

end page

  • 246


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