Does Political Representation Increase Participation? Evidence from Party Candidate Lotteries in Mexico

How does representation by politicians from specific communities influence these communities’ political participation? Analyzing a natural experiment from Mexico in which a party uses lotteries to select candidates for public office, this paper presents new insights into how representation shapes the political participation of underrepresented segments of society. I find that participation in subsequent elections is significantly higher among constituents who have been represented by randomly selected legislators with a similar social background who are part of local organizational networks (embedded representatives). Furthermore, I show that these represented constituents feel more empowered and that the party that provides this “grassroots” representation is rewarded with more support in the subsequent election. The findings highlight the importance of community embeddedness for political mobilization and have important implications for debates about democratic inclusion and representation.

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License CC BY
Type Journal Articles
C-ID POLS 130 - Comparative