Yellow fever

In and around New York city, we see a lot of white men dating asian women. This phenomenon has been popularly attributed to the “yellow fever” syndrome. For a couple of years, Ray Fisman and fellow Columbia University economists ran a speed dating study in the hope of unlocking the mystery of attraction (see previous post Quirkology). Among the findings, he reports in Salon.com, his group has uncovered the reasons for these interracial couplings.

Women of all the races we studied revealed a strong preference for men of their own race: White women were more likely to choose white men; black women preferred black men; East Asian women preferred East Asian men; Hispanic women preferred Hispanic men. But men don’t seem to discriminate based on race when it comes to dating. A woman’s race had no effect on the men’s choices. . . .We found no evidence of the stereotype of a white male preference for East Asian women. However, we also found that East Asian women did not discriminate against white men (only against black and Hispanic men). As a result, the white man-Asian woman pairing was the most common form of interracial dating—but because of the women’s neutrality, not the men’s pronounced preference.

So now we know.

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