Public Policy Spring 2018 Research Seminar: Kathleen Levine Einstein

Photo of Katherine Levine Einstein
Event Date: March 21, 2018 - 1 p.m.
Location: McCormack Hall, 3rd Floor, Room 0440

Who Participates in Local Government? Evidence from Meeting Minutes

Scholars and policymakers have highlighted institutions that enable community participation as a potential buffer against existing political inequalities. Yet, these venues may be biasing policy discussions in favor of an unrepresentative group of individuals. To explore who participates, we compile a novel dataset by coding thousands of instances of citizens speaking at planning and zoning board meetings concerning housing development. We match individuals to a voter file to investigate local political participation in housing and development policy. We find that individuals who are older, male, longtime residents, voters in local elections, and homeowners are significantly more likely to participate in these meetings. These individuals overwhelmingly oppose new housing construction and cite a wide variety of reasons. These participatory inequalities have important policy implications and may be contributing to rising housing costs.  

About the Speaker

Katherine Levine Einstein earned her Ph.D. in Government and Social Policy at Harvard University. Her research and teaching interests broadly include urban politics and policy, racial and ethnic politics, and American public policy. She is currently the co-principal investigator of the Menino Survey of Mayors, a multi-year dataset of survey-interviews of U.S. mayors exploring a wide variety of political and policy issues. 

For disability-related accommodations, including dietary accommodations, please visit two weeks prior to the event.