Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Public Management and Policy

First Advisor

Christine H. Roch

Second Advisor

Gregory B. Lewis

Third Advisor

Cathy Y. Liu

Fourth Advisor

Gordon A. Kingsley

Fifth Advisor

Kurt E. Schnier


This dissertation analyzes the effects of Latino immigration on the representation of Latinos and African-Americans on school boards and attempts to explain under what conditions Latino immigrants provoke opposition among whites. I consider two measures of representation based on representative bureaucracy—the membership of Latinos and African-Americans on school boards and bias in the responsiveness of white school board members toward these two groups. Whites as the major racial group in the U.S. have been the subject of much intergroup relations research focusing on competition for scarce resources, perceived threat and group biases (e.g., Evans and Giles, 1986; Giles and Evans, 1985, 1986; Esses, Jackson and Armstrong, 1998), and I also focus on their racial behaviors as voters in school board elections and as school board members. I consider Latino immigration in this research because emerging evidence suggests that Latino immigration poses a growing threat to whites, leading them to shift their support from Latinos to a countervailing group, such as African-Americans (e.g., Meier and Stewart, 1991; Rocha, 2007).

It is likely that the reactions of whites to Latino immigration are conditioned by their preexisting racial attitudes, so this dissertation also tests competing theories of community racial climate—group threat and group contact. I expect that racial tensions within a community should moderate the influence of Latino immigration on these two forms of Latino and African-American representation. Overall, this dissertation expands the study of representative bureaucracy by combining past research on community racial climates with conditions influencing minority representation.