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Empathy or Antipathy? The Impact of Diversity

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

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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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. Bruce Sacerdote, 2000. "Peer Effects with Random Assignment: Results for Dartmouth Roommates," NBER Working Papers 7469, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. James M. Poterba, 1996. "Demographic Structure and the Political Economy of Public Education," NBER Working Papers 5677, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Michael Kremer Dan Levy, 2003. "Peer Effects and Alcohol Use Among College Students," Mathematica Policy Research Reports 982bbc077a184604b00ef40ab, Mathematica Policy Research.
  4. Easterly, William & Levine, Ross, 1997. "Africa's Growth Tragedy: Policies and Ethnic Divisions," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 112(4), pages 1203-50, November.
  5. Michael Kremer & Dan M. Levy, 2003. "Peer Effects and Alcohol Use Among College Students," NBER Working Papers 9876, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. repec:mpr:mprres:4324 is not listed on IDEAS
  7. Alberto Alesina & Reza Baqir & William Easterly, 1999. "Public Goods And Ethnic Divisions," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 114(4), pages 1243-1284, November.
  8. Mauro, Paolo, 1995. "Corruption and Growth," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 110(3), pages 681-712, August.
  9. Claudia Goldin & Lawrence F. Katz, 1997. "Why the United States Led in Education: Lessons from Secondary School Expansion, 1910 to 1940," NBER Working Papers 6144, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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