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Racism and the Democratic Iowa Caucuses

Filed under: Economics,Politics — Tags: , , , , — Paddy Wallbouncer @ 5:38 pm 2008 January 5

In an early story we explained the system of caucusing in Iowa. Of particular interest is the system the Democratic Party uses for the selection process. There is no secret ballot, and a show of hands or standing in a particular area is the way the Democratic votes are tallied. Republican tallies in the Iowa caucuses are still done by secret ballot.

Detractors of this “stand-your-ground” voting system have noted that social and peer pressure can have a prejudicial effect on the outcome of the vote. Stephen Levitt, author of the excellent book Freakonomics [Revised and Expanded]: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything wrote a working paper available at the National Bureau of Economic Research.

In it, Mr. Levitt used statistics from the (more…)