A land of opportunity?: How perceptions of financial prospects affect racial and ethnic groups' political participation
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This dissertation develops and empirically tests a theory of political participation that posits that the local economic context moderates the effects of individualsÂ socioeconomic status by influencing their prospective financial outlooks. These perceptions, in turn, affect individualsÂ likelihood of engaging in various political activities. I examine the theory using indicators of economic vitality and status both for the entire population and for racial and ethnic group-specific economic conditions. This two-pronged approach allows me to assess the extent to which group-specific conditions are more salient for minority group members than are more traditional contextual (full population) measures that reflect the economic status of the entire population. Thus, such questions as whether blacksÂ financial outlooks are influenced more by the visibility of black-owned businesses or by the total visibility of business activity are addressed. Hypotheses are tested using the 1992 National Election Study, the 1995 Texas Minority Survey, and economic data collected from the U.S. Census Bureau, 1992 Economic Census. Results indicate that the financial perceptions of blacks and Latinos are significantly related to levels of political activity while the financial outlooks of Asians and whites are not significantly related to their political activity.
Suthammanont, Christina Marie (2005). A land of opportunity?: How perceptions of financial prospects affect racial and ethnic groups' political participation. Doctoral dissertation, Texas A&M University. Texas A&M University. Available electronically from