In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, accounts of violence against Asians–and those of Chinese descent especially–have risen dramatically. These disturbing episodes have sparked a rapidly growing research agenda that uses well-controlled research designs to explore the extent, nature, and origins of hostility against Asian Americans in the current moment. Unfortunately, however, researchers undertook few such well-controlled studies examining discrimination against Asian Americans in the years before the COVID-19 pandemic. Thus, scholars have limited experimental evidence upon which to understand and benchmark recent research. We examine data from two large-scale, independently conducted correspondence audits of public school principals before the pandemic. Our research provides clear evidence that discrimination against individuals of Chinese descent in the U.S. is definitively not a new phenomenon driven only by the COVID-19 outbreak. This discrimination is large and widespread in American public schools. Moreover, we find that among public school principals, discrimination against Asian Americans is considerably larger than discrimination against Hispanic and Black Americans. Additionally, discrimination against Asian Americans is larger in areas that have greater shares of White and Republican-voting populations. Our evidence shows that discrimination against Asian Americans is systemically present and does not vary by local mean income or educational attainment. Our two large experiments show that in vitally important contexts, Asian Americans have faced deeply troubling, yet subtle and hard to detect, levels of discrimination that are large by any standard of reference. Discrimination against Asians is an enduring aspect of life in the United States.
Cultural capital is influential in determining who continues on to and succeeds in higher education. However, scholars debate whether cultural capital serves to reproduce existing inequalities or provide a path to upward mobility. Most quantitative studies focus on point-in-time correlations between cultural capital measures and educational achievement or attainment. Thus, this work is unclear on how or even if disadvantaged adolescents can significantly increase their stores of cultural capital. One potential way of providing adolescents with an opportunity to gain cultural capital is through ties to adults with high educational attainment. We investigate this topic using unique quasi-experimental longitudinal data on mentoring relationships between adolescents and adults in the Big Brothers/Big Sisters of America program. We find that only mentors with a college degree or greater have positive effects on cultural capital for adolescents. Furthermore, most of the effects of social capital on cultural capital hold only for adolescents with a parent with some college or greater. We question whether cultural capital can truly be an engine of social mobility if adolescents from low-SES households cannot obtain or increase their cultural capital.
COVID-19 vaccine distribution has been uneven across the United States and reforms to the distribution process may be necessary to achieve high levels of vaccination across the population. We investigate the associations between racial/ethnic and socioeconomic composition measures and the percent of the population with at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine across ZIP Codes in eight cities over two time points. We find that vaccination levels in March and April were negatively associated with population percent under the poverty line, Medicaid enrolled, and uninsured. By April, vaccination levels in Black and Hispanic communities were only beginning to reach levels seen in White and Asian communities in March. Growth between March and April in percent vaccinated was slower in low-SES than high-SES ZIP Codes. Policymakers and public health officials need to adjust current models of COVID-19 vaccine distribution, outreach, and messaging strategies to target communities least protected against COVID-19.
Since the 1960s, social scientists, fair housing agencies, and the federal government have conducted hundreds of in-person and correspondence housing audits. Researchers use these covert experiments to make strong causal claims about difficult-to-detect behavior, such as racial, gender, and other types of discrimination. These studies have consistently uncovered discrimination in multiple stages and contexts of the housing exchange process. The housing audit literature is broad and robust, and a number of in-depth reviews already exist. In this chapter, we build on those reviews by focusing attention on emerging areas of inquiry and suggest new avenues of research pursuits. We begin by briefly reviewing the long history of housing audits including in-person HUD audits and correspondence audits of home sales and housing rentals. Next, we discuss three emerging areas of housing audit research – housing choice vouchers, short-term rentals, and roommate searches – and highlight important findings, new innovations, and areas of weakness. Finally, we conclude with a discussion about future directions of housing audits including using experiments to test for ways to reduce discrimination, using additional data to examine the mechanisms of housing discrimination, and designing modified audits to explore discrimination in other stages of housing exchange.
Correspondence audits are a popular method to examine discrimination in a causal framework. However, correspondence audits often require sending hundreds or thousands of emails to subjects. The Winmail3 package allows users to automatically send emails with Stata through PowerShell, which is open-source and cross-platform. Researchers can use this package to perform basic email tasks, such as contacting students or colleagues with standardized messages. Additionally, researchers can perform more complex tasks that entail sending randomized messages with multiple attachments from multiple accounts, tasks that are often necessary to conduct correspondence audit tests. This paper introduces the command and illustrates multiple examples of its application. We believe that researchers can apply this package to correspondence audit tests to save time and money.
Across how many generations do elders’ educational advantages directly benefit their descendants? For most of the modern history of stratification research, scholars believed it might only be one. Research suggested that any associations between grandparents and earlier generations’ educational attainment and descendants’ educational attainment were entirely mediated through intervening generations. The last decade of stratification research has upended this Markovian assumption. Still, it remains unclear how far back direct intergenerational education effects operate because most inquiries are limited to two or three generations. In this paper, we employ four generations of family data from the Panel Study of Income Dynamics to examine the association of great-grandparents’ educational attainment with their great-grandchildren’s early academic achievement, net of intervening generations’ educational attainments. We find that great-grandparent effects on great-grandchild early academic achievement are non-linear, modest, and entirely accounted for by the educational attainment of intervening generations and great-grandchild demographic characteristics. Thus, for early academic achievement, direct intergenerational advantage transmission is limited to three generations in these data. Examining three potential mechanisms of four-generational models of educational advantage — lifespan overlap, resource dilution, and genetic linkage — finds limited support for lifespan overlap, no support for resource dilution, and limited evidence on the genetic linkage mechanism does not support this hypothesis
Evidence of racial and ethnic discrimination stems mostly from experiments in the U.S., Europe, and elsewhere that use names to signal race/ethnicity. Although recent work has examined individual racial perceptions of names in the U.S., no research has examined how names might convey immigrant generational status – an important signal for discrimination experiments across the world. I conduct a survey experiment that presents respondents with a series of first and last names to examine perceptions of immigrant generational status in the U.S. In total, 1,659 respondents provide information on 56 different names. I find that when presented with both traditional first and last Hispanic, Indian, or Chinese names, respondents most often believe that person was not born in the U.S. When presented with traditional white or Anglo first names combined with Hispanic or Asian last names, respondents most often believe that person was born in the U.S. but their parents were not. Individual names provide some variation within these results and some groups have stronger results than others. These findings have important implications for discrimination experiments in the U.S. and open the door for future research to distinguish between discrimination based on race/ethnicity and discrimination based on immigration status.
This study uses experimental methods to investigate covert racial discrimination in “roommate wanted” ads on Craigslist. Roommate relationships include significant social dimensions, and are an important site through which segregation may be reproduced or broken down, but have received very little attention by researchers. We develop fictitious racially-coded female names and identities for white, black, Hispanic, Chinese, and Indian room-seekers, along with Hispanic, Chinese, and Indian room-seekers with “Americanized” first names. We implement a field experiment and respond to over 1,500 “roommate wanted” advertisements on Craigslist across three metropolitan areas. Our emails express interest in the roommate-wanted ad, and mention that the sender is college-educated and employed full-time. We monitor response rates in the aggregate and within Census tracts of varying racial and economic characteristics. We find severe discrimination against African Americans, Hispanics, and Chinese-origin individuals. Asians with Americanized first names are treated equally to whites, while traditional Indian names and Americanized Latina names face moderate levels of discrimination. Patterns of discrimination by neighborhood race and class characteristics yield better access to upward mobility for Asian Americans than for underrepresented minority group members. Our findings reveal an important social mechanism that constricts integration and opportunity, shed new light on Asians’ and Latinas’ place in the US race system, reveal important interactions of race and presumed nativity, and show the ongoing relevance of race.