According to the minority empowerment thesis, minority representation strengthens representational links, fosters more positive attitudes toward government, and encourages political participation. We examine this theory from a cross-national perspective, making use of surveys that sampled minorities in the United States and New Zealand. Both countries incorporate structures into their electoral systems that make it possible for minority groups to elect representatives of their choice. We find that in both countries descriptive representation matters: it increases knowledge about and contact with representatives in the U.S. and leads to more positive evaluations of governmental responsiveness and increased electoral participation in New Zealand. These findings have broad implications for debates about minority representation.
The Journal of Politics
Required Publisher's Statement
The Journal of Politics / Volume 66 / Issue 02 / May 2004, pp 534-556
Copyright © 2004, Southern Political Science Association
DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1468-2508.2004.00163.x (About DOI), Published online: 29 July 2008
Published by: Cambridge University Press on behalf of the Southern Political Science AssociationStable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3449673
Donovan, Todd; Banducci, Susan A.; and Karp, Jeffrey A., "Minority Representation, Empowerment, and Participation" (2004). Political Science. Paper 10.