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Identifying race and ethnicity in the 1979 National Longitudinal Survey of Youth

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  • Audrey Light

    ()

  • Alita Nandi

    ()

Abstract

The 1979 National Longitudinal Survey of Youth is among the few surveys to provide multiple reports on respondents’ race and ethnicity. Respondents were initially classified as Hispanic, black, or “other” on the basis of data collected during 1978 screener interviews. Respondents subsequently self-reported their “origin or descent” in 1979, and their race and Hispanic origin in 2002; the latter questions conform to the federal standards adopted in 1997 and used in the 2000 census. We use these data to (a) assess the size and nature of the multiracial population, (b) measure the degree of consistency among these alternative race-related variables, and (c) devise a number of alternative race/ethnicity taxonomies and determine which does the best job of explaining variation in log-wages. A key finding is that the explanatory power of race and ethnicity variables improves considerably when we cross-classify respondents by race and Hispanic origin. Little information is lost when multiracial respondents are assigned to one of their reported race categories because they make up only 1.3% of the sample. Copyright Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2007

Suggested Citation

  • Audrey Light & Alita Nandi, 2007. "Identifying race and ethnicity in the 1979 National Longitudinal Survey of Youth," Population Research and Policy Review, Springer;Southern Demographic Association (SDA), vol. 26(2), pages 125-144, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:poprpr:v:26:y:2007:i:2:p:125-144
    DOI: 10.1007/s11113-007-9021-1
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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1007/s11113-007-9021-1
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Becker, Gary S., 1971. "The Economics of Discrimination," University of Chicago Press Economics Books, University of Chicago Press, edition 2, number 9780226041162, September.
    2. Neal, Derek A & Johnson, William R, 1996. "The Role of Premarket Factors in Black-White Wage Differences," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 104(5), pages 869-895, October.
    3. Borjas, George J & Bronars, Stephen G, 1989. "Consumer Discrimination and Self-employment," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 97(3), pages 581-605, June.
    4. Audrey Light & Wayne Strayer, 2004. "Who Receives the College Wage Premium?: Assessing the Labor Market Returns to Degrees and College Transfer Patterns," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 39(3).
    5. 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.
    6. Trejo, Stephen J, 1997. "Why Do Mexican Americans Earn Low Wages?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 105(6), pages 1235-1268, December.
    7. Coate, Stephen & Loury, Glenn C, 1993. "Will Affirmative-Action Policies Eliminate Negative Stereotypes?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(5), pages 1220-1240, December.
    8. Smith, James P & Welch, Finis R, 1989. "Black Economic Progress after Myrdal," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 27(2), pages 519-564, June.
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    Cited by:

    1. Burton, Jonathan & Nandi, Alita & Platt, Lucinda, 2008. "Who are the UK's minority ethnic groups? Issues of identification and measurement in a longitudinal study," ISER Working Paper Series 2008-26, Institute for Social and Economic Research.

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    Keywords

    Race; Ethnicity; Multiracial; Population;

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