Cascio, Elizabeth U. and Ebonya Washington (2014). Valuing the Vote: The Redistribution of Voting Rights and State Funds following the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The Quarterly Journal of Economics, 129(1):379-433. doi: 10.1093/qje/qjt028
The Voting Rights Act of 1965, called one of the most effective pieces of civil rights legislation in U.S. history, generated dramatic increases in black voter registration across the South. We ask whether the increase in black voting rights was accompanied by an increase in blacks’ share of public spending. We exploit a key provision of the act—removal of literacy tests at registration—for identification. Employing a triple-difference framework over a 20-year period, we find that counties with higher black population shares in former literacy test states saw greater increases in both voter turnout and state transfers than comparison counties in non–literacy test states, a finding that is consistent with models of distributive politics.
Link to article here.