"Racial Preferences in Dating," an article by Raymond Fisman, Sheena Iyengar, Emir Kamenia, and Itamar Simonson, was published in the Review of Economic Studies in 2008. The article was written to examine racial preference in dating by using a speed dating experiment that was designed to observe the decisions of the study participants. The thing about this article which most immediately stood out was that women, older people, and more attractive people displayed weaker preferences about the race of a potential partner. As the authors note in their introduction, interracial marriage is very rare in the United States. When one considers that nearly half of all marriages would be interracial if partners were selected at random, but less than 5% of all marriages are actually interracial, this fact becomes even more striking. I found it to be quite revealing. I found their analysis of how this state of affairs came to be quite interesting - as they note, the lack of interracial marriage could be due to the preferences of men or women and of members of any ethnic group, and that the level of resistance to interracial marriage could vary across ethnic and socio-economic backgrounds. According to the authors, women have very strong preferences for partners of the same race, while men have no such preferences. I found this quite interesting in light of the idea that, historically, such things as segregation were created to make sure that white women only slept with black men. One thing which was especially interesting is that so few studies have been done about something so important. Given that there is often a lot of opposition to interracial marriage and relationships, it would seem that more people would study it. However, as the authors note, only three other studies have been done which analyze the racial preferences of people in real life and, of those studies, none of the others try to find factors in the ethnic or socio-economic backgrounds of the participants...
References: Fisman, R., Iyengar, S., Kamenica, E., & Simonson, I. (2008). Racial Preferences In Dating. Review of Economic Studies, 117-132.
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