Essays on Hispanic Identity



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In this dissertation, I explore two topics related to Hispanic discrimination and identity. In chapter one, I study discrimination against Hispanics in the labor market. I compare the children of inter-ethnic marriages to study the impact of having a Hispanic last name. While males born to Hispanic father-White mothers earn less than those born to White father-Hispanic mothers, the gap could be completely explained by educational differences. I also study the effect of identifying as Hispanic on earnings. I find that men who identify as Hispanic earn significantly less than those who do not, even after controlling for educational differences. In chapter two, I study the determinants of the choice to identify as Hispanic among those who could—those whose parents, grandparents, or selves were born in a Spanish- speaking country. I find that individuals with Hispanic ancestry are significantly less likely to self-identify as Hispanic if they live in states with high levels of implicit ethnic bias. A one standard deviation increase in bias decreases self-reported Hispanic identity by 7-13 percentage points for first and second-generation Hispanics, respectively. These effects are more prominent among second-generation immigrants whose mothers and fathers were born in a Spanish-speaking country than among children of inter-ethnic parents. These findings have implications for the interpretation of economic research on racial and ethnic gaps in a variety of contexts, including labor market outcomes, redistributive policies, and political representation.



Economics of Minorities, Race, And Immigrants, Discrimination and Prejudice