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Empathy or antipathy? The impact of diversity

Author

Listed:
  • Johanne Boisjoly
  • Greg Duncan
  • Jacque Eccles
  • Michael Kremer
  • Dan Levy

Abstract

Mixing across racial and ethnic lines could spur understanding or inflame tensions between groups. We find that white students at a large state university randomly assigned African American roommates in their first year were more likely to endorse affirmative action and view a diverse student body as essential for a high-quality education. They were also more likely to say they have more personal contact with, and interact more comfortably with, members of minority groups. Although sample sizes are too small to provide definitive evidence, these results suggest students become more empathetic with the social groups to which their roommates belong.

Suggested Citation

  • Johanne Boisjoly & Greg Duncan & Jacque Eccles & Michael Kremer & Dan Levy, 2004. "Empathy or antipathy? The impact of diversity," Natural Field Experiments 00220, The Field Experiments Website.
  • Handle: RePEc:feb:natura:00220
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. William Easterly & Ross Levine, 1997. "Africa's Growth Tragedy: Policies and Ethnic Divisions," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 112(4), pages 1203-1250.
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    3. James M. Poterba, 1997. "Demographic structure and the political economy of public education," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 16(1), pages 48-66.
    4. Michael Kremer & Dan M. Levy, 2003. "Peer Effects and Alcohol Use Among College Students," NBER Working Papers 9876, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Alberto Alesina & Reza Baqir & William Easterly, 1999. "Public Goods and Ethnic Divisions," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 114(4), pages 1243-1284.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • I28 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Government Policy
    • J15 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Minorities, Races, Indigenous Peoples, and Immigrants; Non-labor Discrimination
    • J18 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Public Policy
    • Z13 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Economic Sociology; Economic Anthropology; Language; Social and Economic Stratification

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