Does descriptive representation increase perceptions of legitimacy? Evidence from Australia

Feodor Snagovsky*, Woo Chang Kang, Jillian Sheppard, Nicholas Biddle

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    3 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    How does the descriptive representation of ethnic minorities affect how voters feel about the responsiveness of government? While there are many theoretical arguments that descriptive representation increases perceptions of legitimacy, the empirical evidence of this link is limited. We use survey data from the Australian Election Study and a separate conjoint experiment to evaluate whether the presence of ethnic minority candidates changes voters’ perceptions of government responsiveness. We find ethnic minority Australians do not appear to have higher levels of external efficacy when voting for an ethnic minority candidate. By contrast, white-Anglo respondents have lower levels of external efficacy when voting for a non-Anglo candidate. The results inform the continuing debate on how group consciousness affects political behavior.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)378-398
    Number of pages21
    JournalAustralian Journal of Political Science
    Volume55
    Issue number4
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2020

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