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Shedding "light" on marriage: The influence of skin shade on marriage for black females

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  • Hamilton, Darrick
  • Goldsmith, Arthur H.
  • Darity Jr., William

Abstract

The inter-racial marriage gap that opened in the past 50 years is generally attributed to a decline in the availability of young black marriageable men. We contend that the associated shortage of desirable men in the marriage market provides those black men who are sought after with the opportunity to attain a high status spouse, which has placed a premium on black women with lighter skin. We provide evidence, based on data drawn from the Multi City Study of Urban Inequality, consistent with this hypothesis. Our theoretical analysis of the marriage market reveals that marriage promotion policies to increase the desire to marry on the part of young black women will serve to exacerbate the importance attached to skin shade.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization.

Volume (Year): 72 (2009)
Issue (Month): 1 (October)
Pages: 30-50

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Handle: RePEc:eee:jeborg:v:72:y:2009:i:1:p:30-50

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Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/jebo

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Keywords: Marriage Skin shade Race;

References

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  1. John Bound & Richard B. Freeman, 1991. "What Went Wrong? The Erosion of Relative Earnings and Employment Among Young Black Men in the 1980s," NBER Working Papers 3778, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Michael J. Brien & Lee A. Lillard & Steven Stern, 2006. "Cohabitation, Marriage, And Divorce In A Model Of Match Quality," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 47(2), pages 451-494, 05.
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  4. Peter Gottschalk, 1997. "Inequality, Income Growth, and Mobility: The Basic Facts," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 11(2), pages 21-40, Spring.
  5. Burdett, Ken & Coles, Melvyn G, 1997. "Marriage and Class," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 112(1), pages 141-68, February.
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  9. Darity, William, Jr & Myers, Samuel L, Jr, 1983. "Changes in Black Family Structure: Implications for Welfare Dependency," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 73(2), pages 59-64, May.
  10. James J. Heckman & Brook S. Payner, 1989. "Determining the Impact of Federal Antidiscrimination Policy on the Economic Status of Blacks: A Study of South Carolina," NBER Working Papers 2854, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  13. Arthur H. Goldsmith & Darrick Hamilton & William Darity Jr, 2006. "Shades of Discrimination: Skin Tone and Wages," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(2), pages 242-245, May.
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  15. William Darity & Jason Dietrich & David K. Guilkey, 2001. "Persistent Advantage or Disadvantage?: Evidence in Support of the Intergenerational Drag Hypothesis," American Journal of Economics and Sociology, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 60(2), pages 435-470, 04.
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  17. Arthur H. Goldsmith & Darrick Hamilton & William Darity, Jr, 2007. "From Dark to Light: Skin Color and Wages Among African-Americans," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 42(4).
  18. Howard Bodenhorn, 2006. "Colorism, Complexion Homogamy, and Household Wealth: Some Historical Evidence," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(2), pages 256-260, May.
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  21. Linda Loury, 2006. "Schooling, Skin Tone, and Attractiveness: Beauty Makes Skin Seem Deep," Discussion Papers Series, Department of Economics, Tufts University 0620, Department of Economics, Tufts University.
  22. Robert Michael & Nancy Tuma, 1985. "Entry into marriage and parenthood by young men and women: The influence of family background," Demography, Springer, vol. 22(4), pages 515-544, November.
  23. Joni Hersch, 2008. "Profiling the New Immigrant Worker: The Effects of Skin Color and Height," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 26(2), pages 345-386, 04.
  24. Kwabena Gyimah-Brempong & Gregory N. Price, 2006. "Crime and Punishment: And Skin Hue Too?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(2), pages 246-250, May.
  25. Michael J. Brien, 1997. "Racial Differences in Marriage and the Role of Marriage Markets," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 32(4), pages 741-778.
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Cited by:
  1. Green, Tiffany L. & Hamilton, Tod G., 2013. "Beyond black and white: Color and mortality in post-reconstruction era North Carolina," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 50(1), pages 148-159.
  2. Grossbard, Shoshana & Gimenez-Nadal, Jose Ignacio & Molina, José Alberto, 2010. "Racial Discrimination and Household Chores," IZA Discussion Papers 5345, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).

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