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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Essays on Race and Political Economy

  • Author(s): Ang, Desmond
  • Advisor(s): Andreoni, James
  • Dahl, Gordon
  • et al.
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The dissertation contains three essays exploring race and political economy. Leveraging large, novel datasets and applied econometric techniques, it explores the role that government policy may have on racial disparities in civic engagement and education. Chapter 1 examines the impact of federal election oversight restrictions established under the Voting Rights Act on electoral participation and outcomes. I find that these oversight measures led to large long-run gains in minority turnout, but actually decreased Democratic vote share in presidential elections. I provide evidence that this partisan shift was due to political backlash among racially-conservative whites. Chapter 2 investigates how acts of police violence affect the educational and psychological outcomes of Los Angeles public high school students. I find that students living near an officer-involved killing experience large and significant decreases in academic achievement and increases in emotional disturbance. These effects are concentrated among black and Hispanic students and police killings of other minorities, particularly those in which the individual killed was unarmed. Chapter 3 then explores how police violence influences voter turnout. I find that police killings lead to increased civic engagement among black communities, especially those that were historically critical of the criminal justice system.

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This item is under embargo until July 6, 2020.