Do More Professionalized Legislatures Discriminate Less? The Role of Staffers in Constituency Service.

15 Pages Posted: 6 Jul 2019

See all articles by Michelangelo Landgrave

Michelangelo Landgrave

University of California, Riverside (UCR) - Department of Political Science

Nicholas Weller

University of California, Riverside (UCR)

Date Written: May 1, 2019

Abstract

Research suggests that organizational structure can influence the ability of actors to discriminate. In this research article we examine whether the structure of state legislatures affects observed discrimination in correspondent audit studies. We find that increased legislative professionalization is associated with reduced discrimination against racial minorities. By analyzing thousands of emails collected in a prior study we find that legislative professionalization is related to a higher likelihood that staffers respond to email contacts and staffers are less likely to discriminate against racial minorities across multiple measures of discrimination. Our findings emphasize the importance of substantively-relevant heterogeneity in audit studies and identify a potential mitigator of discrimination – legislative professionalism. Our results also highlight the importance of staffers in representation and the legislative process.

Keywords: Representation, State Legislatures, Audit Study, Bias reduction

JEL Classification: J15

Suggested Citation

Landgrave, Michelangelo and Weller, Nicholas, Do More Professionalized Legislatures Discriminate Less? The Role of Staffers in Constituency Service. (May 1, 2019). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3380797 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3380797

Michelangelo Landgrave (Contact Author)

University of California, Riverside (UCR) - Department of Political Science ( email )

Riverside, CA 92521
United States

Nicholas Weller

University of California, Riverside (UCR) ( email )

900 University Avenue
Riverside, CA 92521
United States

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