Princeton University Library Catalog

“THE BEST REVENGE IS YOUR PAPER”: AN EXPLORATION OF AFRICAN AMERICAN CAMPAIGN CONTRIBUTIONS FROM 1980-2012

Author/​Artist:
Brown, Jameil [Browse]
Format:
Senior thesis
Language:
English
Advisor(s):
McCarty, Nolan [Browse]
Department:
Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs [Browse]
Class year:
2016
Description:
89 pages
Summary note:
Abstract The field of campaign finance severely lacks research on the intersection of race and campaign finance. This is largely because race is not inquired on mandatory contribution reports, and the thresholds for these singular donations are too high for minorities, who generally lack wealth, to meet. Using a technique to estimate an individual’s race from their zip code and surname, I comb through the DIME database’s election filings from 1980-2012 and extract those contributors who have a probability greater than .5 of being African American. I develop an understanding of this group’s responses to political and economic stimuli by performing regression analyses at the national and state level. I also find meaningful national and state-level differences between African Americans and the at-large population, as well as within African Americans by party, with proportion and sample testing. Generally, the contribution rates of African Americans fell between 1 and 2% throughout the time period, with a general decline over time. Contribution amount had a relatively convex pattern, with a fall in the early 1990s and a spike in the 2000s. Generally, independent variables that assessed quality of life were significant in the national analysis, while those that assessed politics factored more on state-level analyses. These results help fill an unfortunate gap in the literature on racial and electoral politics, and can inform future study.