Representation and integration: essays on the impact of local minority political representation on immigrants' political engagement

Lead Research Organisation: University of Essex
Department Name: Inst for Social and Economic Research


The political integration of immigrants and their engagement with local institutions is one of the key aspects of their inclusion into a host society. With descriptive representation of ethnic minorities in the UK parliament steadily increasing on both sides of the aisle, I propose investigating the relationship between descriptive political representation at the constituency and the political engagement of ethnic minorities. Concretely, I propose doing this by using publicly available data on MPs' ethnicity and the 'Understanding Society' dataset's variables on political interest, attitudes to political engagement, and party allegiance to investigate whether representation at the constituency level has led to a change in these variables. To do this I propose using ordinal and multinomial logistic regression models and multilevel modelling that would also help determine how these variables have changed over time and within different groups.

This doctoral dissertation aims to investigate the links between UK ethnic minority representation at the constituency level, and the expressed political interest and political affiliation among resident minorities using the 'Understanding society' data and its IEMB boost. The impact of minority political representation on political interest, affiliation, and voting behaviour in the United Kingdom hasn't been investigated before. This dissertation could thus make a valuable contribution to the literature on how minority political representation impacts minority citizens in the United Kingdom.

The proposed research project aims to investigate the following questions:
1. Does local minority representation affect political interest among immigrant and minority groups (and their children)? Does the effect of local minority political representation differ across generations?
2. Does local minority political representation change immigrants' attitude to political engagement? Do attitude s vary across generations / age? Does knowledge / interest in politics affect people's attitudes? Does party affiliation have a relationship with immigrant' attitude towards political engagement?
3. Does local minority political representation affect immigrants' expressed political allegiance? How does this relationship vary across generations / age? Does knowledge / interest in politics affect political allegiance? Does the strength of the expressed allegiance play a role?


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Studentship Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Student Name
ES/P00072X/1 01/10/2017 30/09/2027
2609998 Studentship ES/P00072X/1 01/10/2021 31/03/2026 Jonas Kaufmann