research

ONGOING RESEARCH

Demographic Threat and the Racial Classification of Racially Ambiguous Latinos

How do members of dominant groups, like US Whites, react when their privileged social status is threatened, for example, by the prospect of numeric decline? Prior studies identify two sets of reactions: (1) Whites identify more strongly as ingroup members, and (2) they withhold material and symbolic resources from outgroup members. Boundary-making scholars raise another possibility: Whites may alter the boundary around Whiteness by redefining the criteria for membership. This study uses an original survey experiment to examine how demographic threat affects US Whites’ classification of racially ambiguous Latinos. The results reveal that Whites are less—not more—likely to classify people who are ambiguously White or Latino as "White" under threat. The results contribute to a growing literature on the racial classification of multiracial and racially ambiguous people that has previously ignored ambiguity around the Latino category; they also intervene in an active debate about demographic projections and the classification decisions on which they rely.

The Asymmetric Effects of Diversity on Cooperation (with D. Baldassarri)

According to a large body of work, ethnoracial diversity undermines desirable outcomes like trust, solidarity, and cooperation. In fact, the effects attributed to diversity could reflect the negative reactions of majority group members to the presence of minority outgroup members. Diversity and minority/outgroup share are often treated interchangeably. Analytically, however, diversity is distinct from, and occasionally orthogonal to, minority/outgroup share. In claiming that diversity (rather than minority/outgroup share) is responsible for undesirable outcomes, scholars invoke two assumptions: (1) that the effects of heterogeneity/homogeneity are symmetric across group compositions (i.e., across majority-majority and majority-minority contexts), and (2) that the effects of heterogeneity/homogeneity are symmetric across individuals (i.e., across majority and minority group members). Successfully recovering the effects of diversity (i.e., distribution) from those of group share (i.e., composition) entails validating these assumptions, and this is hard to do because homogeneously minority communities are few and far between. This study mobilizes an experimental public goods game to examine cooperative behavior in precisely the kinds of groups that are difficult to observe in the real world: homogeneously minority groups. Specifically, we compare cooperation among US Whites in three kinds of groups: homogeneously White, homogeneously Black, and heterogeneously Black–White. According to the diversity literature, Whites should be least cooperative in the heterogeneous group; according to the threat literature, Whites should be least cooperative in the homogeneously Black group. Results underscore the importance of observing homogeneously minority groups.

Why Some (Racial) Attitudes Are More Susceptible to Social Desirability Bias Than Others

Diversity or Outgroup Share? Explaining Permitted Events and 311 Calls in NYC (with D. Baldassarri and F. Ganter)

Defining Diversity: Heterogeneity versus Representation (with J. Xu and D. Baldassarri)

The Criminal-Immigrant Stereotype: Only About Immigration? (with J. Simes)

Intervening in Attitudes About Immigration (with J. Lee, V. Tran, and T. Huang)