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The Plight of Mixed-Race Adolescents

Author

Listed:
  • Roland G. Fryer Jr.

    (Harvard University and NBER)

  • Lisa Kahn

    (Yale School of Management)

  • Steven D. Levitt

    (University of Chicago and American Bar Foundation)

  • Jörg L. Spenkuch

    (University of Chicago)

Abstract

Since 1970, the fraction of mixed-race black-white births has increased nearly ninefold. This paper describes basic facts about the behaviors and outcomes of black-white mixed-race individuals. Unsurprisingly, on a host of background and achievement characteristics, as well as adult outcomes, mixed-race individuals fall in between whites and blacks. When it comes to engaging in risky and antisocial adolescent behavior, however, mixed-race adolescents are stark outliers compared to both blacks and whites. We argue that these behavioral patterns are most consistent with a two-sector Roy model, in which mixed-race adolescents, not having a predetermined peer group, engage in more risky behaviors in order to be accepted. © 2012 The President and Fellows of Harvard College and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Suggested Citation

  • Roland G. Fryer Jr. & Lisa Kahn & Steven D. Levitt & Jörg L. Spenkuch, 2012. "The Plight of Mixed-Race Adolescents," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 94(3), pages 621-634, August.
  • Handle: RePEc:tpr:restat:v:94:y:2012:i:3:p:621-634
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Roland G. Fryer Jr. & Lisa Kahn & Steven D. Levitt & Jörg L. Spenkuch, 2012. "The Plight of Mixed-Race Adolescents," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, pages 621-634.
    2. Edward Telles & Nelson Lim, 1998. "Does it matter who answers the race question? Racial classification and income inequality in Brazil," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 35(4), pages 465-474, November.
    3. Fryer Roland & Jackson Matthew O., 2008. "A Categorical Model of Cognition and Biased Decision Making," The B.E. Journal of Theoretical Economics, De Gruyter, vol. 8(1), pages 1-44, February.
    4. Roland G. Fryer, Jr., 2006. "A Model of Social Interactions and Endogenous Poverty Traps," NBER Working Papers 12364, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Howard Bodenhorn & Christopher Ruebeck, 2007. "Colourism and African–american wealth: evidence from the nineteenth-century south," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, pages 599-620.
    6. 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, pages 71-90.
    7. 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, pages 1-44.
    8. Peter Arcidiacono & Patrick Bayer & Aurel Hizmo, 2010. "Beyond Signaling and Human Capital: Education and the Revelation of Ability," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, pages 76-104.
    9. Howard Bodenhorn, 2002. "The Complexion Gap: The Economic Consequences of Color among Free African Americans in the Rural Antebellum South," NBER Working Papers 8957, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    10. Kevin Lang & Michael Manove, 2011. "Education and Labor Market Discrimination," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, pages 1467-1496.
    11. Fryer, Roland, 2007. "A Model of Social Interactions and Endogenous Poverty Traps," Scholarly Articles 2958480, Harvard University Department of Economics.
    12. Howard Bodenhorn & Christopher Ruebeck, 2007. "Colourism and African–american wealth: evidence from the nineteenth-century south," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, pages 599-620.
    13. Philippe Choné & Ching-To Albert Ma, 2011. "Optimal Health Care Contract under Physician Agency," Annals of Economics and Statistics, GENES, issue 101-102, pages 229-256.
    14. David Austen-Smith & Roland G. Fryer, 2005. "An Economic Analysis of "Acting White"," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 120(2), pages 551-583.
    15. A. D. Roy, 1951. "Some Thoughts On The Distribution Of Earnings," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 3(2), pages 135-146.
    16. Eli Berman, 2000. "Sect, Subsidy, and Sacrifice: An Economist's View of Ultra-Orthodox Jews," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 115(3), pages 905-953.
    17. Kevin Lang & Michael Manove, 2011. "Education and Labor Market Discrimination," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, pages 1467-1496.
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    Cited by:

    1. Roland G. Fryer Jr. & Lisa Kahn & Steven D. Levitt & Jörg L. Spenkuch, 2012. "The Plight of Mixed-Race Adolescents," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, pages 621-634.
    2. Andrew M. Francis & Maria Tannuri-Pianto, 2013. "Endogenous Race in Brazil: Affirmative Action and the Construction of Racial Identity among Young Adults," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 61(4), pages 731-753.
    3. Fairlie, Robert W., 2009. "Can the "one-drop rule" tell us anything about racial discrimination? New evidence from the multiple race question on the 2000 Census," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 16(4), pages 451-460, August.
    4. 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, pages 1-44.
    5. Cid, Alejandro, 2012. "Giving a Second Chance: an After-School Program in a Shanty Town Matched against Parent Type," MPRA Paper 39918, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    6. 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, pages 1-44.
    7. Elsner, Benjamin & Isphording, Ingo E., 2015. "Rank, Sex, Drugs, and Crime," IZA Discussion Papers 9478, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    8. Marianne Bernatzky & Alejandro Cid, 2014. "Hope and commitment. Lessons from a randomize control trial in a shanty town," Documentos de Trabajo/Working Papers 1404, Facultad de Ciencias Empresariales y Economia. Universidad de Montevideo..

    More about this item

    Keywords

    mixed-race adolescents; adolescent behavior; peer groups;

    JEL classification:

    • J15 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Minorities, Races, Indigenous Peoples, and Immigrants; Non-labor Discrimination
    • J13 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth

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