Greater Diversity or Fewer Whites? Disentangling Heterogeneity and Non-White Share at Macro and Micro Levels (with F. Ganter and D. Baldassarri) Socius

Scholarship claims that diversity undermines trust and cooperation. Critiques focus on studies’ inability to discern diversity’s causal effects. In fact, most studies are unable to distinguish diversity (i.e., mixture) and marginalized group share (e.g., percentage Black). The authors argue for preserving this distinction and identify obstacles to doing so. First, homogeneously disadvantaged communities are acutely underrepresented in North America and Europe, the settings of most diversity research. The second issue, a case of the ecological fallacy, concerns our inability to infer associations between individual outcomes and diversity from associations between macro-level outcomes and diversity. Much diversity research would be better served by using group share measures that align with the in-group/out-group theories they draw on to motivate research and explain findings. The authors clarify the data and analytic requirements for research that seeks to draw conclusions about diversity per se. Practically, the distinction between diversity and marginalized group share is also relevant for policy.

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.

Know it When you See it? The Properties of the Communities People Describe as “Diverse” (or not) (with F. Ganter) City & Community

We explore what people mean by “diversity” when they use the term to describe real communities. “Diversity” can refer to multiple differences—ethnoracial, economic, and so on. It may also refer to multiple dimensions of the same difference, that is, heterogeneity or group representation. Analyzing a survey of Chicago-area residents, we ask: (1) When people describe a community as diverse, on which kinds of differences are they drawing? (2) Within each relevant difference, are evaluations of diversity predicted by heterogeneity, the share of specific groups, or both? Findings suggest that respondents associate diversity primarily with a community’s ethnoracial attributes and secondarily with its economic attributes. Within ethnoracial attributes, both heterogeneity and the share of disadvantaged ethnoracial groups, especially Blacks, predict assessed diversity. Within economic attributes, income inequality predicts assessed diversity, albeit negatively; the representation of poor people does not. Qualitative responses reveal varied understandings of diversity while confirming the dominance of ethnoracial attributes.