sELECTED Articles in progress

Race, Money, and Place: Consequences of Fringe Economy Use for Political Engagement (in preparation for submission)

Abstract: Combining interview data and statistical methods, this study identifies a financial channel pivotal to understanding the relationship between race, income, and political engagement: the fringe economy. The fringe economy refers to financial services, such as payday loans and check-cashing, that charge high interest rates or fees to people with limited access to traditional financial services (e.g., banks). Frequent use of fringe economy services increases levels of political engagement among racial and ethnic minorities, but differing fringe economy state regulations shape the behavior of these private actors that creates differential access to these particular kinds of services, which dampens participation. This finding suggests that the frequency of using costlier resources provided in the fringe economy decreases the relationship between the fringe economy and political engagement. This research highlights that resource provision can be a worthwhile policy pursuit for increasing minority involvement in politics but only if there are better means of resource provision, with fewer long-term problems. These findings present a micro-level account of the influence of financial insecurity, private businesses, and political capacity, one that holds implications for scholarship and public policy on the persistence of racial and participatory inequality.

Effects of Neighborhood Quality and Access to Services on Evaluations of the State (under review)

Coauthored with Tyson King-Meadows and Jessica Lynn Stewart

Abstract: Rising intra-group socioeconomic inequality and uneven neighborhood development raise the question: to what extent does local context influence engagement with the state? We argue both objective and subjective indicators of neighborhood quality along with access to local services affect feelings of local government trust, responsiveness, and non-voting participation. Combining spatial analysis and the 2016 Collaborative Multiracial Post-Election Survey (CMPS), we find that Black people who perceive high-quality access to goods and services in their neighborhood positively relate to the government in three ways. They trust their local government to do what is right, believe public officials are responsive to their community, and participate in politics beyond voting. Though this paper focuses on African Americans, these findings emphasize the continued importance of neighborhood-level experiences as a source of information for politics and for understanding intra-group differences. This work expands understanding of contextual dynamics that complicate interactions between non-whites and local governments.