People participate more in politics when they believe someone represents their interests. In the contemporary United States, having a representative who shares a person’s racial, ethnic, or gender identity increases participation and furthers political incorporation of immigrants. Three empirical analyses support these claims. The first shows the effect of coethnic candidacies on vote turnout among Vietnamese Americans. The second study shows the positive effect of having coethnic/cogender U.S. state legislators on voter turnout. The third study shows the positive effect of “feeling represented” on several types of political participation by Latinos in 1989 and Latinos, African Americans, and Asian Americans in 2016.
Presenter biography: Professor Uhlaner works in the field of comparative political behavior, notably in North America and Western Europe. She is particularly interested in understanding mass political participation and mass-elite linkages. She has worked on theories of social choice and rationality and has used this to guide her empirical work. Her current research examines the political mobilization of ethnic minorities in the United States. In addition, she has worked on gender and politics. Professor Uhlaner's graduate teaching includes seminars on political participation and representation, political behavior, and methods of political inquiry. She often uses mathematical and formal approaches in her teaching as well as research.