Boisjoly, Johanne, Duncan, Greg, Kremer, Michael, Levy, Dan, & Eccles, Jacques
Empahty or Antipathy? The Impact of Diversity
University of Quebec at Rimouski
The consequences of intergroup interactions in one particular real-world context by examining whether attitudes and behaviors change when people of different races are randomly assigned to live together at the start of their first year of college.
Journal Name or Institutional Affiliation:
The American Economic Review
Vol. 96, No. 5, pp. 1890-1905
- Being assigned a Black roommate was associated with more positive attitudes toward affirmative action and diversity policies.
- Students who were assigned Black roommates during their first year report more frequent personal contact and comfortable interactions with members of other racial/ethnic groups in later years.
- White students randomly assigned African-American roommates express more positive attitudes toward affirmative action and interacted more comfortably with minorities several years after college entry than White students assigned White roommates.
- Whites become less supportive of redistributive policies when they are assigned roommates from wealthy families.
- Roommates tend to affect attitudes and intermediate behaviors, but have little or no effect on harder-to-change behavior and long-term goals.
- Mixing with members of other groups tends to make individuals more empathetic to these groups.
Journal Article Empirical Research
Affirmative Action, College, Diversity, Peer Effects
Secondary Survey Data, Survey
Method of Analysis:
Students randomly assigned to rooms
Unit of Analysis:
- Data on students who entered in the fall of each year between 1997 and 2000.
- Racial/ethnic, socioeconomic, and attitudinal data on students comes from the Cooperative Institutional Research Program (CIRP) Entering Student Survey, an annual survey of the American higher-education system conducted jointly by the American Council on Education and UCLA.
- Outcome measures come from a survey administered to students who entered the university in the fall of 1997-2000 and were randomly assigned roommates.
- Analysis sample of 1,278 students.
- DV: Questions on racial attitudes, behaviors, and goals.
- IV: Family income, race an ethnicity, respondents' and roommates' high school test scores, and others.