PhD student, Shiyi Chen, presented a poster of her paper, “Affirmative Action and Interracial Marriage,” at the 2020 ASSA Meetings in San Diego.
The paper looks at how state affirmative action policies, enacted mostly in the 1970s and 1980s, affected the likelihood of interracial marriage. Prior work has shown that that these policies, which apply only to public sector workers, led to increases in minority representation in the workplace. By comparing the likelihoods of black-white marriage, before vs. after a policy was enacted in a state and depending on whether a person works in the public sector, Shiyi explores whether the increased on-the-job contact between people of different races also resulted in more interracial marriage. The paper shows that indeed white males became more likely to marry black females after after being exposed to state affirmative policies, a result perhaps suggesting that interracial contact – even when induced by public policy – improves race relations more broadly.
The AEA interviewed select poster presenters at the conference, and Shiyi’s poster was chosen to be highlighted. You can watch her discuss her work below.