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Guess Who's Been Coming to Dinner? Trends in Interracial Marriage over the 20th Century

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  • Roland G. Fryer Jr.
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    Abstract

    This paper studies marriages across black, white, and Asian racial lines. Marrying across racial lines is a rare event, even today. Interracial marriages account for approximately 1 percent of white marriages, 5 percent of black marriages, and 14 percent of Asian marriages. Following a brief history of the regulation of race and romance in America, I analyze interracial marriage using census data from 1880-2000, uncovering a rich set of cross-section and time-series patterns. I investigate the extent to which three different theories of interracial marriage can account for the patterns discovered. After also testing a social exchange theory and a search model, I find the data are most consistent with a Becker-style marriage market model in which objective criteria of a potential spouse, their race, and the social price of intermarriage are central.

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    File URL: http://www.aeaweb.org/articles.php?doi=10.1257/jep.21.2.71
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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by American Economic Association in its journal Journal of Economic Perspectives.

    Volume (Year): 21 (2007)
    Issue (Month): 2 (Spring)
    Pages: 71-90

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    Handle: RePEc:aea:jecper:v:21:y:2007:i:2:p:71-90

    Note: DOI: 10.1257/jep.21.2.71
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    References

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    Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
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    1. Cutler, David & Vigdor, Jacob & Glaeser, Edward, 1999. "The Rise and Decline of the American Ghetto," Scholarly Articles 2770033, Harvard University Department of Economics.
    2. Oaxaca, Ronald, 1973. "Male-Female Wage Differentials in Urban Labor Markets," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 14(3), pages 693-709, October.
    3. Roland G. Fryer, Jr. & Matthew O. Jackson, 2003. "Categorical Cognition: A Psychological Model of Categories and Identification in Decision Making," NBER Working Papers 9579, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Rosen, Sherwin, 1974. "Hedonic Prices and Implicit Markets: Product Differentiation in Pure Competition," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 82(1), pages 34-55, Jan.-Feb..
    5. Roland G. Fryer, Jr. & Steven D. Levitt, 2002. "Understanding the Black-White Test Score Gap in the First Two Years of School," NBER Working Papers 8975, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Becker, Gary S, 1973. "A Theory of Marriage: Part I," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 81(4), pages 813-46, July-Aug..
    7. Fryer, Roland & Echenique, Federico, 2007. "A Measure of Segregation Based on Social Interactions," Scholarly Articles 2958220, Harvard University Department of Economics.
    8. Finis Welch, 2003. "Catching Up: Wages of Black Men," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(2), pages 320-325, May.
    9. Adachi, Hiroyuki, 2003. "A search model of two-sided matching under nontransferable utility," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 113(2), pages 182-198, December.
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    Cited by:
    1. Michèle Belot & Jan Fidrmuc, 2009. "Anthropometry of Love Height and Gender Asymmetries in Interethnic Marriages," William Davidson Institute Working Papers Series wp950, William Davidson Institute at the University of Michigan.
    2. Alan Fernihough & Cormac Ó Gráda & Brendan M Walsh, 2014. "Mixed Marriages in Ireland A Century Ago," Working Papers 201407, School Of Economics, University College Dublin.
    3. Roland G. Fryer, Jr & Lisa Kahn & Steven D. Levitt & Jörg L. Spenkuch, 2008. "The Plight of Mixed Race Adolescents," NBER Working Papers 14192, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Chatterji, Aaron K. & Seamans, Robert C., 2012. "Entrepreneurial finance, credit cards, and race," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 106(1), pages 182-195.
    5. Fairlie, Robert W., 2009. "Can the "one-drop rule" tell us anything about racial discrimination? New evidence from the multiple race question on the 2000 Census," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 16(4), pages 451-460, August.
    6. Richard Wright & Steven Holloway & Mark Ellis, 2013. "Gender and the Neighborhood Location of Mixed-Race Couples," Demography, Springer, vol. 50(2), pages 393-420, April.
    7. Laouénan, Morgane, 2014. "'Can't Get Enough': Prejudice, Contact Jobs and the Racial Wage Gap in the US," IZA Discussion Papers 8006, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).

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