IZA DP No. 13594: Education, Spatial Disparities in Schooling and Black-White Interracial Marriage
This study investigates the observed positive relationship between educational attainment and likelihood of black-white interracial marriages. Different from the previous studies that focus only on the role of individual education levels in interracial marriages, this study contributes to the literature by examining the impact of the spatial variations in relative black/white educational distributions in marriage markets. The first contribution of this study is to provide an answer to the low black-white intermarriage rate puzzle by suggesting that as black and white educational differences in general between lessen and as individual educational attainment increase black-white interracial marriages may not become more common. The relative importance of three mechanisms through which education may affect intermarriage probability is examined: (1) racial adaptability effect, (2) enclave effect, and (3) educational dissimilarity effect. Using the U.S. Census Data, this study's second contribution is the finding that the enclave and the educational dissimilarity effects are more important than the racial adaptability effect in explaining intermarriage probability of black males. Our results suggest that rising black individual educational attainments may not always result in an increased intermarriage likelihood. Differences in the black and white education distributions have a significant impact on the black/white interracial marriage probability.