A Representative-Represented Matrix: Exploring the Symbolic Effect of Minority Representation

Document Type


Publication Date



This study explores how symbolic representation varies by citizens’ demographic identities and bureaucracies’ demographic composition. First, it presents a representative-represented matrix to provide a conceptual framework from the citizens’ perspective. Then, this is followed by the application to the area of policing in the experimental setting. Citizen perceptions are explored in terms of minority bureaucrats’ representative role and the potential benefits of a representative bureaucracy. The empirical evidence demonstrates that the symbolic effect of minority representation varies and may not accomplish expected outcomes for all minorities. The symbolic representation may be manifested for women and minorities but limited for White men.