How often has an Hispanic asked you for spare change? I’ve lived around LA, San Francisco, NYC, and DC, all of which have lots of Hispanics and lots of beggars. But as far as I can remember, I’ve never encountered an Hispanic beggar in America. Your experience may not be as stark as mine, but it’s hard to deny that Hispanics are grossly underrepresented in this “occupation,” despite their below-average income.

What gives? Both demand- and supply-side explanations suggest themselves.

On the demand side, I suspect that Americans are less willing to give money to Hispanic beggars because they see them as “foreigners.”

On the supply side, I suspect that Hispanics are unusually likely to see begging as shameful, and unusually willing to do unpleasant jobs for what Americans see as low wages. The strength of Hispanic family ties also plausibly plays a role.

Am I on the right track? Have I missed something important? Please let me know, especially if you actually are Hispanic…