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Does Perceiving Discrimination Influence Partisanship among U.S. Immigrant Minorities? Evidence from Five Experiments

  • Daniel J. Hopkins (a1), Cheryl R. Kaiser (a2), Efrén O. Pérez (a3), Sara Hagá (a4), Corin Ramos (a5) and Michael Zárate (a5)...


Perceived discrimination (PD) is reliably and strongly associated with partisan identity (PID) among US immigrant minorities such as Latinos and Asian Americans. Yet whether PD causes PID remains unclear, since it is possible that partisanship influences perceptions of discrimination or that other factors drive the observed association. Here, we assess the causal influence of group-level PD on PID using five experiments with Latino and Asian American adults. These experiments varied in important ways: they took place inside and outside the lab, occurred prior to and during Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, and tested different manifestations of PD and partisan attitudes (total n = 2,528). These efforts point to a simple but unexpected conclusion: our experiments and operationalizations do not support the claim that group-targeted PD directly causes PID. These results have important implications for understanding partisanship among immigrants and their co-ethnics and the political incorporation of Latinos and Asian Americans.



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The authors gratefully acknowledge the support of the Russell Sage Foundation (Award 87-14-05 to Hopkins, Kaiser, and Pérez). This research was reviewed and approved by institutional review boards at Georgetown University (2014–1003), the University of Pennsylvania (823994), the University of Washington (48286), and Vanderbilt University (151979). We thank August Gebhard-Koenigstein, Daniel Maldonado, and Thomas Munson for excellent research assistance and Matt Baretto, David Broockman, Neil Malhotra, Tanika Raychaudhuri, and Nicholas Valentino for insightful comments. This research was previously presented at the Spring 2016 Meeting of the Identity Politics Research Group (Columbia University, May 26), the 2016 Comparative Approaches to Immigration, Ethnicity, and Integration conference (Yale University, June 15), and the 2018 Collaborative Multiracial Post-Election 2016 Survey conference. There are no conflicts of interest to report. The data, code, and any additional materials required to replicate all analyses in this article are available at the Journal of Experimental Political Science Dataverse within the Harvard Dataverse Network, at: doi:10.1017/XPS.2019.14.”



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