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Gender and Racial Biases: Evidence from Child Adoption

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  • Baccara, Mariagiovanna
  • Collard-Wexler, Allan
  • Felli, Leonardo
  • Yariv, Leeat

Abstract

This paper uses a new data set on domestic child adoption to document the preferences of potential adoptive parents over born and unborn babies relinquished for adoption by their birth mothers. We show that adoptive parents exhibit significant biases in favor of girls and against African-American babies. A non-African-American baby relinquished for adoption attracts the interest of potential adoptive parents with probability 11.5% if it is a girl and 7.9% if it is a boy. As for race, a non-African-American baby has a probability of attracting the interest of an adopting parent at least seven times as high as the corresponding probability for an African-American baby. In addition, we show that a child’s desirability in the adoption process depends significantly on time to birth (increasing over the pregnancy, but decreasing after birth) and on adoption costs. We also document the attitudes toward babies’ characteristics across different categories of adoptive parents - heterosexual and same-sex couples, as well as single women and foreign couples. Finally, we consider several recently discussed policies excluding same-sex and foreign couples from the adoption process. In our data, such policies would reduce the number of adopted babies by 6% and 33%, respectively.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 7647.

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Date of creation: Jan 2010
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Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:7647

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Keywords: Child Adoption; Gender Bias; Matching; Racial Bias; Search;

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References

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  1. Anders Björklund & Mikael Lindahl & Erik Plug, 2006. "The Origins of Intergenerational Associations: Lessons from Swedish Adoption Data," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 121(3), pages 999-1028, 08.
  2. Ran Abramitzky & Adeline Delavande & Luís Vasconcelos, 2010. "Marrying Up: The Role of Sex Ratio in Assortative Matching," Research Working Papers 36, MICROCON - A Micro Level Analysis of Violent Conflict.
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  4. Altonji, Joseph G. & Blank, Rebecca M., 1999. "Race and gender in the labor market," Handbook of Labor Economics, in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 48, pages 3143-3259 Elsevier.
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  7. Luca Flabbi, 2007. "Prejudice and Gender Differentials in the U.S. Labor Market in the Last Twenty Years," Working Papers gueconwpa~07-07-07, Georgetown University, Department of Economics.
  8. Roland G. Fryer & Steven D. Levitt, 2005. "The Black-White Test Score Gap Through Third Grade," NBER Working Papers 11049, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Maristella Botticini & Aloysius Siow, 2008. "Are there Increasing Returns in Marriage Markets?," Working Papers tecipa-333, University of Toronto, Department of Economics.
  10. Bruce Sacerdote, 2007. "How Large Are the Effects from Changes in Family Environment? A Study of Korean American Adoptees," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 122(1), pages 119-157, 02.
  11. Mustard, David B, 2001. "Racial, Ethnic, and Gender Disparities in Sentencing: Evidence from the U.S. Federal Courts," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 44(1), pages 285-314, April.
  12. Goldin, Claudia D. & Bertrand, Marianne & Katz, Lawrence F., 2010. "Dynamics of the Gender Gap for Young Professionals in the Financial and Corporate Sectors," Scholarly Articles 8810041, Harvard University Department of Economics.
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  15. Lones Smith, 2006. "The Marriage Model with Search Frictions," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 114(6), pages 1124-1146, December.
  16. Eeckhout, Jan, 1999. "Bilateral Search and Vertical Heterogeneity," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 40(4), pages 869-87, November.
  17. repec:bla:restud:v:75:y:2008:i:4:p:1085-1120 is not listed on IDEAS
  18. Raymond Fisman & Sheena S. Iyengar & Emir Kamenica & Itamar Simonson, 2008. "Racial Preferences in Dating," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 75(1), pages 117-132.
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  20. Maristella Botticini & Aloysius Siow, 2011. "Are There Increasing Returns to Scale in Marriage Markets?," Working Papers 395, IGIER (Innocenzo Gasparini Institute for Economic Research), Bocconi University.
  21. 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.
  22. Gordon B. Dahl & Enrico Moretti, 2008. "The Demand for Sons," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 75(4), pages 1085-1120.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Moriguchi, Chiaki, 2012. "The Evolution of Child Adoption in the United States, 1950-2010: An Economic Analysis of Historical Trends," Discussion Paper Series 572, Institute of Economic Research, Hitotsubashi University.
  2. Elisabeth Gugl & Linda Welling, 2012. "Time with sons and daughters," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, vol. 10(2), pages 277-298, June.

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