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Empathy or Antipathy? The Impact of Diversity

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Author Info

  • Johanne Boisjoly
  • Greg J. Duncan
  • Michael Kremer
  • Dan M. Levy
  • Jacque Eccles
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    Abstract

    Mixing across racial and ethnic lines could spur understanding or inflame tensions between groups. We find that white students at a large state university randomly assigned African American roommates in their first year were more likely to endorse affirmative action and view a diverse student body as essential for a high-quality education. They were also more likely to say they have more personal contact with, and interact more comfortably with, members of minority groups. Although sample sizes are too small to provide definitive evidence, these results suggest students become more empathetic with the social groups to which their roommates belong. (JEL I28, J15, J18, Z13)

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    File URL: http://www.aeaweb.org/articles.php?doi=10.1257/aer.96.5.1890
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    File URL: http://www.aeaweb.org/aer/data/dec06/20040819_data.zip
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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by American Economic Association in its journal American Economic Review.

    Volume (Year): 96 (2006)
    Issue (Month): 5 (December)
    Pages: 1890-1905

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    Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:96:y:2006:i:5:p:1890-1905

    Note: DOI: 10.1257/aer.96.5.1890
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    1. Easterly, W & Levine, R, 1996. "Africa's Growth Tragedy : Policies and Ethnic Divisions," Papers 536, Harvard - Institute for International Development.
    2. Alberto Alesina & Reza Baqir & William Easterly, 1997. "Public Goods and Ethnic Divisions," NBER Working Papers 6009, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Michael Kremer & Dan M. Levy, 2003. "Peer Effects and Alcohol Use Among College Students," Mathematica Policy Research Reports 4324, Mathematica Policy Research.
    4. Bruce Sacerdote, 2001. "Peer Effects With Random Assignment: Results For Dartmouth Roommates," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 116(2), pages 681-704, May.
    5. James M. Poterba, 1996. "Demographic Structure and the Political Economy of Public Education," NBER Working Papers 5677, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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