The decline of racial boundaries: Gender and modernization in the opening of interracial marriage markets
AuthorJones, Andrew William
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
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AbstractThis study argues that the development of individual choice in marriage markets has led to an increase in interracial marriage and an accompanying decline in racial boundaries. I first establish the importance of individual choice in interracial marriage. I do this by examining the persistent tendency for interracial marriage to be engaged in substantially more often by men in some racial-ethnic groups, and by women in others. I propose that a within-group mismatch of gender attitudes and an across-group matching of gender attitudes leads individuals to seek partners across racial lines. A national U.S. probability sample reveals that there are both significant differences in gender attitudes between each of the racial groups, as well as sex gaps in attitudes within each of the groups. Further, the cross-racial pairings for which the gender attitude gaps are smallest are also those for which interracial marriage is highest. Next, I examine the importance of women's employment for the weakening of racial boundaries. Previous research has established that increases in an ethnic group's occupational heterogeneity weaken ethnic solidarity for members of the group. Since occupations are highly sex segregated, increases in women's employment tend to increase an ethnic group's occupational heterogeneity, and hence weaken ethnic group solidarity. I confirm this hypothesis by finding that employed women are significantly more tolerant of interracial marriage than are married women. Last, I find that modernization is also associated with tolerance toward interracial marriage.
Degree ProgramGraduate College