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Acting White or Acting Black: Mixed-Race Adolescents' Identity and Behavior

  • Ruebeck Christopher S

    ()

    (Lafayette College)

  • Averett Susan L

    ()

    (Lafayette College)

  • Bodenhorn Howard N

    ()

    (Clemson University and NBER)

Although rates of interracial marriage are on the rise, we still know relatively little about the experiences of mixed-race adolescents. In this paper, we examine the identity and behavior of mixed-race (black and white) youth. We find that mixed-race youth adopt both types of behaviors, those that can be empirically characterized as black and those that can be characterized as white. When we combine both types of behavior, average mixed-race behavior is a combination that is neither white nor black, and the variance in mixed-race behavior is generally greater than the variance in behavior of monoracial adolescents, especially as compared to the black racial group. Adolescence is the time during which there is most pressure to establish an identity, and our results indicate that mixed-race youth are finding their own distinct identities, not necessarily joining either monoracial group, but in another sense joining both of them.

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File URL: http://www.degruyter.com/view/j/bejeap.2009.9.1/bejeap.2009.9.1.1688/bejeap.2009.9.1.1688.xml?format=INT
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Article provided by De Gruyter in its journal The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy.

Volume (Year): 9 (2009)
Issue (Month): 1 (March)
Pages: 1-44

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Handle: RePEc:bpj:bejeap:v:9:y:2009:i:1:n:9
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  1. Betsey Stevenson & Justin Wolfers, 2007. "Marriage and Divorce: Changes and their Driving Forces," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 21(2), pages 27-52, Spring.
  2. Roland G. Fryer Jr., 2007. "Guess Who's Been Coming to Dinner? Trends in Interracial Marriage over the 20th Century," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 21(2), pages 71-90, Spring.
  3. Howard Bodenhorn & Christopher S. Ruebeck, 2003. "The Economics of Identity and the Endogeneity of Race," NBER Working Papers 9962, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. 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.
  5. George A. Akerlof & Rachel E. Kranton, 2002. "Identity and Schooling: Some Lessons for the Economics of Education," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 40(4), pages 1167-1201, December.
  6. 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).
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