More than Just Friends? School Peers and Adult Interracial Relationships
48 Pages Posted: 15 Jul 2017 Last revised: 25 May 2018
Date Written: April 3, 2018
This paper investigates whether interracial contact in childhood impacts adult romantic relationships. We exploit quasi-random variation in the share of black students across cohorts within US schools. We find that more black peers of the same gender lead whites to have more relationships with blacks as adults. While we do not find impacts on labor market outcomes, there are significant effects on reported racial attitudes. Furthermore, an increase in meeting opportunities is unlikely to explain the increased interracial relationships, since the effect is persistent across time, space and social networks. Overall, interracial contact during childhood has important long-term behavioral consequences.
JEL Classification: J12, J15, J16
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation