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Interracial Friendships in College

Motivated by the reality that the bene?ts of diversity on a college campus will be mitigated if interracial interactions are scarce or super?cial, previous work has strived to document the amount of interracial friendship interaction and to examine whether policy can influence this amount. In this paper we take advantage of unique longitudinal data from the Berea Panel Study to build on this previous literature by providing direct evidence about the amount of interracial friendships at different stages of college and by providing new evidence about some of the possible underlying reasons for the observed patterns of interaction. We ?find that, while much sorting exists at all stages of college, black and white students are, in reality, very compatible as friends; randomly assigned roommates of different races are as likely to become friends as randomly assigned roommates of the same race. Further, we fi?nd that, in the long-run, white students who are randomly assigned black roommates have a signi?cantly larger proportion of black friends than white students who are randomly assigned white roommates, even when the randomly assigned roommates are not included in the calculation of the proportions. This last result contradicts previous ?findings in the literature.

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Paper provided by University of Western Ontario, CIBC Centre for Human Capital and Productivity in its series University of Western Ontario, CIBC Centre for Human Capital and Productivity Working Papers with number 20106.

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Date of creation: 2010
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:uwo:hcuwoc:20106
Contact details of provider: Postal: CIBC Centre for Human Capital and Productivity, Social Science Centre, University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario, Canada N6A 5C2
Phone: 519-661-2111 Ext.85244
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  1. Cornell, Bradford & Welch, Ivo, 1996. "Culture, Information, and Screening Discrimination," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 104(3), pages 542-71, June.
  2. Todd Stinebrickner & Ralph Stinebrickner, 2001. "Working During School and Academic Performance," University of Western Ontario, CIBC Centre for Human Capital and Productivity Working Papers 20011, University of Western Ontario, CIBC Centre for Human Capital and Productivity.
  3. Stinebrickner, Ralph & Stinebrickner, T.R.Todd R., 2004. "Time-use and college outcomes," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 121(1-2), pages 243-269.
  4. Bruce Sacerdote & David Marmaros, 2005. "How Do Friendships Form?," NBER Working Papers 11530, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Mayer, Adalbert & Puller, Steven L., 2008. "The old boy (and girl) network: Social network formation on university campuses," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 92(1-2), pages 329-347, February.
  6. Matthew O. Jackson & Brian W. Rogers, 2007. "Meeting Strangers and Friends of Friends: How Random Are Social Networks?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(3), pages 890-915, June.
  7. Jesse Rothstein & Albert Yoon, 2008. "Mismatch in Law School," NBER Working Papers 14275, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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