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Racial Preferences in Mate Selection: Evidence from a Speed Dating Experiment

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  • Fisman, Raymond

    (Columbia U)

  • Iyengar, Sheena
  • Kamenica, Emir

    (Harvard U)

  • Simonson, Itamar

    (Stanford U)

Abstract

We utilize an experimental 'Speed Dating' service to examine racial preferences in mate selection. Our data allow for the direct observation of individual decisions of randomly paired individuals; we may therefore directly infer racial preferences, which was not possible in prior studies. We observe stronger same race preferences for blacks and Asians than for Hispanics and whites, with insignificant overall level of racial preferences for female Hispanics and males of all races. Females exhibit stronger racial preferences than males. Differences in self-reported shared interests largely mediate the observed racial preferences. Collectively, our results imply strong but very heterogeneous racial preferences. Finally, we compare our experimental results with the levels of marital segregation in the United States.

Suggested Citation

  • Fisman, Raymond & Iyengar, Sheena & Kamenica, Emir & Simonson, Itamar, 2004. "Racial Preferences in Mate Selection: Evidence from a Speed Dating Experiment," Research Papers 1871, Stanford University, Graduate School of Business.
  • Handle: RePEc:ecl:stabus:1871
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    File URL: http://gsbapps.stanford.edu/researchpapers/library/RP1871.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Linda Y. Wong, 2003. "Structural Estimation of Marriage Models," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 21(3), pages 699-728, July.
    2. David M. Cutler & Edward L. Glaeser & Jacob L. Vigdor, 1999. "The Rise and Decline of the American Ghetto," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 107(3), pages 455-506, June.
    3. Guenter Hitsch & Ali Hortacsu, 2005. "What Makes You Click? An Empirical Analysis of Online Dating," 2005 Meeting Papers 207, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    4. Roland G. Fryer & Steven D. Levitt, 2004. "The Causes and Consequences of Distinctively Black Names," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 119(3), pages 767-805.
    5. Schelling, Thomas C, 1969. "Models of Segregation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 59(2), pages 488-493, May.
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