RECENT PUBLICATIONS AND WORKING PAPERS
Politics, not Vulnerability: Republicans Discriminated against Chinese-born Americans throughout the COVID-19 Pandemic (with K. Makovi and Y. Xu) Journal of Race, Ethnicity, and Politics
Asian Americans became targets of increasingly hostile behavior during the COVID-19 pandemic. What motivated this? Fears of contagion arising from a behavioral immune system may have motivated hostility toward Asian Americans, especially among those Americans vulnerable to COVID-19. Additionally, stigmatizing rhetoric from right-wing figures may have legitimated anti-Asian behavior among those Americans who held stronger anti-Asian sentiments to begin with or who were more receptive to right-wing rhetoric. We explore these possibilities using a behavioral game with a representative sample of Americans at two points: in May and October 2020. Participants were partnered with a U.S.- or Chinese-born American in a give-or-take dictator game. The average American discriminated against Chinese-born Americans in May but not October 2020, when China was no longer a COVID-19 hotspot. But among Republicans, who may have held stronger anti-Asian sentiments to begin with and who were likely more receptive to right-wing rhetoric, discrimination—that is, differential treatment—was both stronger in May compared to non-Republicans and persisted into October 2020. Notably, Americans who were more vulnerable to COVID-19 were not especially likely to discriminate.
Pathways to Skin Color Stratification: The Role of Inherited (Dis)Advantage and Skin Color Discrimination in Labor Markets (with D. Garcia) Sociological Science
Research has uncovered associations between skin color and myriad outcomes. What drives these associations? We develop a theoretical framework that synthesizes the multiple pathways linking skin color with life chances. Skin color stratification should be conceptualized in historical, structural terms: as the result of unequal treatment and inherited (dis)advantage, that is, unequal resources transmitted by families with different skin tones. We assess the role of two pathways— discrimination and inherited (dis)advantage—for Blacks’ and Latinos’ employment, earnings, and occupational prestige. We use the National Longitudinal Study of Youth 1997, which includes a visual skin color measure; multiple indicators of family background; and a sibling subsample that allows us, using fixed-effects models, to recover the effect of skin color net of family background. First, we find that darker skin tone is associated with worse labor market outcomes. Indicators of family background account for 29 to 44 percent of skin color’s associations with employment, earnings, and occupational prestige. Second, using sibling fixed-effects models, we find that darker skin tone is associated with worse labor market outcomes, but these associations are not statistically significant. In sum, our findings suggest that we pay attention to the multiple pathways linking skin color with life chances.