Guess Who's Been Coming to Dinner? Trends in Interracial Marriage over the 20th Century
AbstractThis paper studies marriages across black, white, and Asian racial lines. Marrying across racial lines is a rare event, even today. Interracial marriages account for approximately 1 percent of white marriages, 5 percent of black marriages, and 14 percent of Asian marriages. Following a brief history of the regulation of race and romance in America, I analyze interracial marriage using census data from 1880-2000, uncovering a rich set of cross-section and time-series patterns. I investigate the extent to which three different theories of interracial marriage can account for the patterns discovered. After also testing a social exchange theory and a search model, I find the data are most consistent with a Becker-style marriage market model in which objective criteria of a potential spouse, their race, and the social price of intermarriage are central.
CitationFryer, Roland, G Jr. 2007. "Guess Who's Been Coming to Dinner? Trends in Interracial Marriage over the 20th Century." Journal of Economic Perspectives, 21 (2): 71-90. DOI: 10.1257/jep.21.2.71
- J12 Marriage; Marital Dissolution; Family Structure; Domestic Abuse
- J15 Economics of Minorities, Races, Indigenous Peoples, and Immigrants; Non-labor Discrimination
- N31 Economic History: Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, Religion, and Philanthropy: U.S.; Canada: Pre-1913
- N32 Economic History: Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, Religion, and Philanthropy: U.S.; Canada: 1913-