Do People Value Racial Diversity? Evidence from Nielsen Ratings
Nielsen ratings for ABC's Monday Night Football are significantly higher when the game involves a black quarterback. In this paper, we consider competing explanations for this effect. First, quarterback race might proxy for other player or team attributes. Second, black viewership patterns might be sensitive to quarterback race. Third, viewers of all races might be exhibiting a taste for diversity. We use both ratings data and evidence on racial attitudes from the General Social Survey to test these hypotheses empirically. The evidence strongly supports the taste-for-diversity hypothesis, while suggesting some role for black own-race preferences as well.