Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

Degree Granting Department


Major Professor

Michael J. Lynch, Ph.D.

Committee Member

John K. Cochran, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Mateus Renno Santos, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Randy B. Nelson, Ph.D.


Black Political Representation, Blalock, Politics & Arrests


The purpose of this dissertation is to examine variations in the racial distribution of reported arrests across counties, and whether those outcomes are related to racial demographics variables and measure of the political structure in the State of Florida. The study seeks to bring awareness to the importance of representation of minorities by conducting a test of Blalock’s minority threat theory and extending the theory through the examination of political variables across Florida counties. Arrest and population data from 67 Florida counties along with the racial composition of the Florida State House of Representatives from 1998 to 2018 are utilized to test the minority threat theory and examine the additional political aspect. The study finds support for Blalock’s minority threat theory but does not find support for Blalock’s, percent Black squared, curvilinear assumption. The study finds evidence of consistent racial disparities in arrest over time, in approximately 81% of the counties with a decreasing trend of racial disparities in arrest, however, while maintaining a large disproportional gap between Black-specific arrest rates and White-specific arrest rates. Findings of the Black political representation indicates that racial disparities in arrest continue to increase in the presence of Black political representation and presents inconclusive evidence to whether Black political representation have a negative effect on racial disparities in arrest, however, the study concludes that the effect may not be prevalent due to the low number of Black political representation in the political structure across Florida counties.