Race matters in online dating

We employ a Speed Dating experiment that allows us to directly observe individual decisions and thus infer whose preferences lead to racial segregation in romantic relationships.Females exhibit stronger racial preferences than males. We’ve processed the messaging habits of over a million people and are about to basically prove that, despite what you might’ve heard from the Obama campaign and organic cereal commercials, racism is alive and well. When I first started looking at first-contact attempts and who was writing who back, it was immediately obvious that the sender’s race was a huge factor.It would be awesome if other big websites would go out on a limb and release their own race data, too. Here are just a handful of the numbers that illustrate that: The takeaway here is that although race shouldn’t matter in messaging, it does. First of all, how do we know that race shouldn’t matter?Rather, what does surprise are a series of papers that show a very strong asymmetry in strength of preference between males and females.To be crass about it, an attractive warm body will do for a man, but women strongly prefer a body with the packaging of their own race!Paradoxically, when surveyed, fewer users answered “yes” to the question of whether they preferred to date someone of their own race.So, while users exercised greater discretion in their stated preference, in practice their actions remained the same..

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The paper is Racial Preferences in Dating, Review of Economic Studies (click the link to download and read the whole thing yourself! Here’s the abstract: We examine racial preferences in dating.

In a new paper, my colleagues — Ashton Anderson, Greg Huber, Neil Malhotra, and Duncan Watts — and I investigate how these racial preferences relate to political attitudes.

In short, are political conservatives more likely than liberals to prefer partners of their own race?

First, let’s keep this in perspective, here are the correlations from the GSS for married individuals for several variables of note (I’ve filtered for whites here): Ethnicity – 0.40 Highest Degree – 0.55 Socioeconomic index – 0.32 I think it’s interesting to note that the variable which reveals meritocratic achievement has the highest correlation.

Ethnicity is something you’re born into, and socioeconomic index is a metric which derives from the milieu in which you were raised.