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Racial Isolation Drives Racial Voting: Evidence from the New South Africa

  • Daniel de KadtEmail author
  • Melissa L. Sands
Original Paper

Abstract

How does local demographic context shape political behavior? We investigate how racial isolation, one of the natural consequences of structural segregation, is related to racial voting in South Africa. Using a variety of new datasets, which include for the first time high resolution census data from before the end of apartheid, we leverage plausibly exogenous variation in the extent to which local segregation persisted after the end of apartheid to study this relationship. Whites who are more isolated engage in more racial voting, measured as the probability of voting along racial lines, against black political parties. Using geo-referenced survey data for over 39,000 people we then present individual level evidence consistent with our findings, and discuss potential mechanisms.

Keywords

Voting behavior Segregation Local context Identity Survey research South Africa 

Notes

Acknowledgements

Thank you to Matt Blackwell, Katherine Erickson, Elliott Green, and numerous anonymous reviewers for detailed commentary. Thank you to participants of MIT’s African Politics Group, the MIT Political Science Graduate Student Work in Progress seminar, Harvard’s Political Economy Workshop, the Boston Working Group on African Political Economy, the Harvard Meeting on Political Geography, and the American Economic Association Annual Meeting for valuable feedback. Thank you to Larry Zietsman and Izak van der Merwe for assistance with the 1991 census data, and to Helene Verhoef at Statistics South Africa for help with later census data. Thank you to James Aphane at the IEC for assistance with the 1999 election data. Thank you to the Human Sciences Research Council for making their survey data available, and to Benjamin Roberts for his assistance with that data. Thank you to Chris Wray and Samy Katumba of the Gauteng City-Region Observatory and Hayley Ivins Downes at Lightstone Property, for providing us access to transfer deeds data for Gauteng. Finally, thank you to Tammany Sandekadt for contributions during the revision process.

Supplementary material

11109_2019_9547_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (1.3 mb)
Supplementary material 1 (PDF 1318 kb)

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of California, MercedMercedUSA

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