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Can the "one-drop rule" tell us anything about racial discrimination? New evidence from the multiple race question on the 2000 Census

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Author Info

  • Fairlie, Robert W.

Abstract

The inclusion of multiple race information for the first time in the 2000 Census allows for a novel test for the presence of labor discrimination using the "one-drop rule." Identifying discrimination is straightforward and essentially relies on the discontinuous nature of the one-drop rule, which treats biracial blacks similarly as monoracial blacks. If biracial blacks have levels of unmeasurable and measurable human capital that lie between the levels of monoracial blacks and whites then, absent discrimination, their wages should also lie between the wages of the two groups. Estimates from the Census indicate that biracial blacks have levels of education that lie almost perfectly between monoracial blacks and whites. In contrast, however, biracial blacks have wages that are roughly similar to monoracial blacks after controlling for education and potential work experience. Estimates from the 1980 Census also do not indicate that the parental characteristics and educational outcomes of biracial children differ from what would be expected by having both black and white parents. Several additional factors that potentially affect the human capital of biracial adults are explored. These findings provide some suggestive evidence on the "one drop rule" and the presence of discrimination in the labor market and provide new estimates of wages and educational levels of biracial blacks.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Labour Economics.

Volume (Year): 16 (2009)
Issue (Month): 4 (August)
Pages: 451-460

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Handle: RePEc:eee:labeco:v:16:y:2009:i:4:p:451-460

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

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Keywords: Race Discrimination;

References

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  1. Kevin Lang & Michael Manove, 2006. "Education and Labor-Market Discrimination," NBER Working Papers 12257, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Ruebeck Christopher S & Averett Susan L & Bodenhorn Howard N, 2009. "Acting White or Acting Black: Mixed-Race Adolescents' Identity and Behavior," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 9(1), pages 1-44, March.
  3. Duncan, Brian & Trejo, Stephen, 2005. "Ethnic Identification, Intermarriage, and Unmeasured Progress by Mexican Americans," IZA Discussion Papers 1629, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  4. Fryer, Roland G. & Levitt, Steven D. & Kahn, Lisa & Spenkuch, Jörg L., 2010. "The Plight of Mixed Race Adolescents," MPRA Paper 23099, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  5. Reimers, Cordelia W, 1983. "Labor Market Discrimination against Hispanic and Black Men," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 65(4), pages 570-79, November.
  6. William A. Darity & Patrick L. Mason, 1998. "Evidence on Discrimination in Employment: Codes of Color, Codes of Gender," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 12(2), pages 63-90, Spring.
  7. Joseph G. Altonji & Rebecca M. Blank, . "Race and Gender in the Labor Market," IPR working papers 98-18, Institute for Policy Resarch at Northwestern University.
  8. 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.
  9. 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).
  10. Becker, Gary S., 1971. "The Economics of Discrimination," University of Chicago Press Economics Books, University of Chicago Press, edition 1, number 9780226041162, September.
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Cited by:
  1. Guang Guo & Yilan Fu & Hedwig Lee & Tianji Cai & Kathleen Mullan Harris & Yi Li, 2014. "Genetic Bio-Ancestry and Social Construction of Racial Classification in Social Surveys in the Contemporary United States," Demography, Springer, vol. 51(1), pages 141-172, February.

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