Date of Award

Summer 8-15-2021

Author's School

Graduate School of Arts and Sciences

Author's Department

Political Science

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Degree Type



Why does ethnic political representation occur and what are its effects on ethnic outgroup views? In this dissertation, I examine political leaders’ motivations for increasing ethnic representation and how citizens and representatives themselves respond. In the first project, I theorize that political leaders increase ethnic cabinet representation when they believe that doing so will improve their electoral fortunes. I collect new data on cabinet minister names, code their ethnicity, and generate a country-year measure of ethnic cabinet diversity. Country leaders indeed increase ethnic cabinet diversity when citizens are most likely to lend them electoral support. The second project investigates how citizens respond to ethnic cabinet representation, arguing that ethnic minority and majority groups respond in opposing ways. I survey Albanians and Macedonians in North Macedonia and show that ethnic representation does not change citizens' ethnic outgroup views. The third project studies how representatives themselves respond to ethnic representation in an environment that I argue is particularly conducive to productive interethnic relationships. Using survey evidence from Indian local government committee members, I show that interethnic contact among representatives is an especially effective tool for improving representatives' outgroup views. These findings inform how key political actors think about the purpose and impact of ethnic representation and when ethnic representation is likely to be effective at improving outgroup views.


English (en)

Chair and Committee

Sunita Parikh

Committee Members

Deniz Aksoy, Joshua Gubler, Guillermo Rosas, Margit Tavits,