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Group threat and democratic equality: Measuring the impact of immigration on state -level civil rights enforcement

Pippi Van Slooten, University of Nebraska - Lincoln


This dissertation seeks to address the problem of wide variation in state-level civil rights enforcement particularly with regard to the equal protection of noncitizens. The purpose of this study is to determine if majority population prejudice (group threat) towards immigrants due to increasing immigration is the main cause of state-level variation in civil rights policy enforcement. The tests used in this study include a case study analysis and a multiple regression analysis. The case study results were mixed: While group threat theory could be used to describe how immigrant group fears impacted civil rights spending decisions in the case example, a descriptive statistical analysis could not support the conclusion that what occurred in Nebraska was an example of a predictable pattern from 1998-2009. The multiple regression results also failed to support a conclusion that increasing immigration is a determinant of variation in state-level civil rights spending. These findings do not negate minority or immigrant threat literature results, but they do indicate that maintaining group threat (and group boundaries) for the purposes of political gain might be more of a factor at the individual political decision-making level than at the political institutional level. ^

Subject Area

Political Science, General|Sociology, Public and Social Welfare

Recommended Citation

Van Slooten, Pippi, "Group threat and democratic equality: Measuring the impact of immigration on state -level civil rights enforcement" (2010). ETD collection for University of Nebraska - Lincoln. AAI3403008.