Nazita Lajevardi

J.D., Ph.D.

Race and Policing
Race and Representative Bureaucracy in American Policing
In this book project, we explore the causes and consequences of racial representation in American policing.  We show that variation in descriptive representation from one jurisdiction to the next is associated with institutional factors, such a residency requirements and union presence and political factors, such as the race of the city's mayor. Those jurisdictions in which the police are more representative of the populations they patrol exhibit fewer citizen complaints of excessive force and more citizen-friendly procedures for dealing with complaints that do in fact occur. 
Attitudes towards Muslim Americans
My dissertation project tracked the treatment of Muslims in American politics by the masses, the media, and legislators through a series of field experiments on political elites and the masses, a framing experiment, and text analysis of media coverage spanning a period of 20 years. In the United States, race plays a significant role in shaping White attitudes in their evaluation of minority groups. For the most part, this work has not yet engaged Muslim Americans; a group once protected under a “cloak of whiteness” before 9/11, and one that has subsequently become racialized. Muslim Americans are an important group to study because they are one of the only groups in the United States to have moved from being viewed as a religious group, composed of members who were deemed White under the law, to one of the most villainized groups in society today.
Voter Identification
"Voter Identification Laws and The Suppression of Minority Votes" 
Voter identification laws have been subject to great debate for over 60 years. Enacted with the intention of making participation in the franchise more rigorous, the long-term effects of these laws remain unknown. Yet, this is an important question of substance. Through the vote, citizens choose leaders, sway policy, and influence democracy. By contract, those who don't can be ignored. Given that more than half of the nation's population is currently subject to these laws, that stricter laws are being considered in multiple states, and that the courts are actively evaluating the merits of these laws in a series of landmark cases, there is a compelling need to know exactly what their true impact is, especially in a post Shelby v. Holder world. In this paper, my coauthors and I track how strict versus non strict voter identification laws from 2008-2014 affect the participation gap of Democrats and minorities.
Representation
"The Political Marginalization of Latinos: Evidence from Three Field Experiments"
In a series of three field experiments on state and congressional legislators, my coauthor and I track how legislators discriminate against fictional constituents who ask for help enrolling their 5 year old child in school when the race and immigration status of the fictional are randomly assigned to one of four groups: White citizens, Hispanic citizens, Hispanic documented immigrants, and Hispanic undocumented immigrants. The three studies demonstrate that responsiveness to Latinos may function differently for Latinos than studies have previously considered. We discover that for Latinos, the party (rather than the race) of the legislator is the most important factor determining responsiveness.