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Gender and Racial Biases: Evidence from Child Adoption

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

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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File URL: http://www.cesifo-group.de/portal/page/portal/DocBase_Content/WP/WP-CESifo_Working_Papers/wp-cesifo-2010/wp-cesifo-2010-01/cesifo1_wp2921.pdf
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Paper provided by CESifo Group Munich in its series CESifo Working Paper Series with number 2921.

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Date of creation: 2010
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Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_2921
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  1. 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.
  2. Raymond Fisman & Sheena S. Iyengar & Emir Kamenica & Itamar Simonson, 2006. "Gender Differences in Mate Selection: Evidence from a Speed Dating Experiment," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 121(2), pages 673-697, May.
  3. 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.
  4. Lones Smith, 2006. "The Marriage Model with Search Frictions," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 114(6), pages 1124-1146, December.
  5. Radha Iyengar, 2007. "An Analysis of the Performance of Federal Indigent Defense Counsel," NBER Working Papers 13187, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Ran Abramitzky & Adeline Delavande & Luis Vasconcelos, 2011. "Marrying Up: The Role of Sex Ratio in Assortative Matching," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 3(3), pages 124-57, July.
  7. Maristella Botticini & Aloysius Siow, 2006. "Are There Increasing Returns in Marriage Markets?," Boston University - Department of Economics - Working Papers Series WP2006-050, Boston University - Department of Economics.
  8. Luca Flabbi, 2007. "Prejudice and Gender Differentials in the U.S. Labor Market in the Last Twenty Years," Carlo Alberto Notebooks 57, Collegio Carlo Alberto.
  9. 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.
  10. Roland G. Fryer & Steven D. Levitt, 2006. "The Black-White Test Score Gap Through Third Grade," American Law and Economics Review, Oxford University Press, vol. 8(2), pages 249-281.
  11. Marianne Bertrand & Claudia Goldin & Lawrence F. Katz, 2010. "Dynamics of the Gender Gap for Young Professionals in the Financial and Corporate Sectors," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 2(3), pages 228-55, July.
  12. Daniela Del Boca & Christopher J. Flinn, 2005. "Household Time Allocation and Modes of Behavior: A Theory of Sorts," CHILD Working Papers wp15_05, CHILD - Centre for Household, Income, Labour and Demographic economics - ITALY.
  13. Joseph G. Altonji & Rebecca M. Blank, . "Race and Gender in the Labor Market," IPR working papers 98-18, Institute for Policy Resarch at Northwestern University.
  14. 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.
  15. 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.
  16. Marianne Bertrand & Sendhil Mullainathan, 2003. "Are emily and greg more employable than lakisha and jamal? A field experiment on labor market discrimination," Natural Field Experiments 00216, The Field Experiments Website.
  17. Gordon B. Dahl & Enrico Moretti, 2008. "The Demand for Sons," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 75(4), pages 1085-1120.
  18. Burdett, Ken & Coles, Melvyn G, 1997. "Marriage and Class," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 112(1), pages 141-68, February.
  19. 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.
  20. repec:bla:restud:v:75:y:2008:i:4:p:1085-1120 is not listed on IDEAS
  21. 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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