Choosing Race: Evidence from the Latino National Political Survey (LNPS, 1989-90)

William Darity, Jr., Duke University and University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Tanya G. Boza, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Self identification of race can be viewed as a matter of constrained personal choice; a critical constraint might be the actual physical appearance of the individual which would affect how others see them. The LNPS provides ideal data for examining choice of race as the outcome of a constrained decision in a population of persons of Mexican, Puerto Rican and Cuban origin residing in the United States (1) because of the high variation in answers to the race question and (2) because each respondent was graded by the interviewer on their skin shade. Utilizing multinomial logistical regressions, we treat skin shade as one of several factors affecting respondents' answers to the race question, where race is treated as the endogenous or dependent variable in our analysis. This may be the first empirical study to treat race as an endogenous variable.

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Presented in Session 59: Latinos and Race