Socioeconomic marginalization and political preferences: evidence from Palestinian Arabs in Israel

Sami H. Miaari, Amit Loewenthal, Wifag Adnan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We examine the relationship between socioeconomic characteristics and voting patterns among Arabs in Israel. We combine panel data on sixty-three Arab localities with election results and socioeconomic indicators for seven election years between 1996 and 2015. Exploiting the variation in political preferences and socioeconomic status across localities and over time, we find that the trends in Arab turnout are consistent with the substantive representation and political exclusion theories: that is, the representation of Arabs in Jewish-majority parties contributed to turnout, while the events of the second Intifada, which included clashes between Arabs in Israel and the Israeli police, were associated with a long-term decline in turnout. We also found that the preference for Arab parties over Left-wing Zionist parties is related to the instrumental voting theory. As the socioeconomic status of Arabs in Israel improved, they were less dependent on Jewish-majority parties for public goods provision and thus had less reason to support them. These findings contribute to understanding the experience of minorities in other contexts and to policymakers in Israel and beyond.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalActa Politica
StateAccepted/In press - 2024


  • Arabs
  • Elections
  • Israel
  • Political economy
  • Representation
  • Voter turnout

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Political Science and International Relations

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