During the 1990 congressional redistricting many states were mandated to create additional majority minority-resident districts in order to elect more minorities to Congress. Civil rights groups and Republicans cheered. The Party views Democratic districts stripped of Black voters as opportunities to repaint blue districts red. The academic literature agrees, attributing the Republican return to House control in 1994 to race based redistricting. However, this literature generally focuses on the district as the unit of analysis, a focus that is too narrow, as some districts gain Black residents while others lose them. I focus on states, the level at which redistricting occurs. By comparing congressional delegations of states under greater pressure to create majority minority districts with those under less pressure in a difference-in-difference framework, I find no evidence that the creation of majority minority districts leads to more conservative House delegations. In fact point estimates indicate that states that increased their share of majority Black districts saw their delegations grow increasingly liberal. I find similar results for Latino districts in the southwest. Thus I find no evidence of the alleged tradeoff between having minority representatives and representatives who support minorities’ preferred policies.
Discussion Paper Number
Washington, Ebonya, "Does Race Based Redistricting Matter for Policy?" (2010). University of Kentucky Center for Poverty Research Discussion Paper Series. 63.