Date of Conferral





Public Policy and Administration


Ross Alexander


Over the past 30 years there has been an increase in socioeconomic inequities between Black and White persons in the United States. Some research suggests that political ideology, which in turn impacts political competition levels, may at least partially explain these disparities, though the body of academic literature in this area is sparse. Little is known about how Black political ideology is formed by perceptions of inequality. The purpose of this study was to examine the phenomenon of Black political ideology, political competition, and socioeconomic status to determine how political competition relates to social inequities between Blacks and Whites. The theoretical framework of the study was Lockean social contract theory. The overarching question guiding this study explored how competition could better defend natural rights to reduce social disparities and the obligations of government to equally protect, similarly to the protections of government historically extended to Whites. Multiple and multivariate regression models were developed using data from the 2010 General Social Survey, the 2010 American Community Survey, and the presidential election results of 2008. Results showed no significant relationship between Black beliefs of inequality with Black political ideology and that high political competition rates might contribute to the increasing Black/White socioeconomic gaps. Contrary to economic competition models developed through Locke's social contract, there was no evidence that political competition reduces socioeconomic inequities between Blacks and Whites. The implications for positive social change include education of policy makers that higher political competition rates in their states contribute to lower socioeconomic outcomes for Blacks.