Costly Protest and Minority Representation in the United States

Costly Protest and Minority Representation in the United States

By Samuel Baltz, University of Michigan

Inequalities in representation persistently disadvantage racial and ethnic minorities, but this disadvantage is not absolute. My research proposes a context in which legislative behavior favors historically excluded groups. I demonstrate that protest characterizes an exceptional circumstance in which reelection-minded legislators are motivated to represent low-resourced groups more often than their higher-resourced counterparts (Gause 2020). Although the argument applies to a wide range of protesters’ resource disparities, this article focuses on those that assist in understanding the representation of racial and ethnic minority groups.

Protest is an opportunity for aggrieved populations to express their concerns. It is especially valuable for politically marginalized groups that do not find traditional, institutional channels responsive to their needs.

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