What accounts for the persistent racial gap between Brazilian citizens and their elected officials? Potential explanations include behavioral as well as institutional and resource-based theories. Dunning presents new evidence from an experiment in which the race and stated class background of political candidates giving otherwise identical speeches were varied at random. The study found some class effects but no discernible effects related to the candidates’ race. The talk will conclude with an exploration of other factors that might help to explain the representational divide.
Thad Dunning is an associate professor of Political Science at Yale University and a research fellow at Yale’s Whitney and Betty Macmillan Center for International and Area Studies as well as the Institution for Social and Policy Studies. His current work on ethnic and other cleavages draws from field work in Latin America, India, and Africa.