Tag Archives | Inequality

Last Name Selection in Audit Studies

Charles Crabtree, Volha Chykina

Sociological Science, January 11, 2018
DOI 10.15195/v5.a2

In this article, we build on Gaddis (2017a) by illuminating a key variable plausibly related to racial perceptions of last names—geography. We show that the probability that any individual belongs to a race is conditional not only on their last name but also on surrounding racial demographics. Specifically, we demonstrate that the probability of a name denoting a race varies considerably across contexts, and this is more of a problem for some names than others. This result has two important implications for audit study research: it suggests important limitations for (1) the generalizability of audit study findings and (2) for the interpretation of geography-based conditional effects. This means that researchers should be careful to select names that consistently signal racial groups regardless of local demographics. We provide a slim R package that can help researchers do this.

Creative Commons LicenseThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
Charles Crabtree: Department of Political Science, University of Michigan
Email: ccrabtr@umich.edu

Volha Chykina: Department of Education Policy Studies, Pennsylvania State University
Email: vuc125@psu.edu

Acknowledgements: We thank Holger L. Kern for his extremely helpful comments. All data and computer code necessary to replicate the results in this analysis are available at

  • Citation: Crabtree, Charles, and Volha Chykina. 2018. “Last Name Selection in Audit Studies.” Sociological Science 5: 21-28.
  • Received: November 2, 2017
  • Accepted: November 11, 2017
  • Editors: Jesper Sørensen, Gabriel Rossman
  • DOI: 10.15195/v5.a2

Better Estimates from Binned Income Data: Interpolated CDFs and Mean-Matching

Paul T. von Hippel, David J. Hunter, McKalie Drown

Sociological Science, November 15, 2017
DOI 10.15195/v4.a26

Researchers often estimate income statistics from summaries that report the number of incomes in bins such as $0 to 10,000, $10,001 to 20,000, …, $200,000+. Some analysts assign incomes to bin midpoints, but this treats income as discrete. Other analysts fit a continuous parametric distribution, but the distribution may not fit well. We fit nonparametric continuous distributions that reproduce the bin counts perfectly by interpolating the cumulative distribution function (CDF). We also show how both midpoints and interpolated CDFs can be constrained to reproduce the mean of income when it is known. We evaluate the methods in estimating the Gini coefficients of all 3,221 U.S. counties. Fitting parametric distributions is very slow. Fitting interpolated CDFs is much faster and slightly more accurate. Both interpolated CDFs and midpoints give dramatically better estimates if constrained to match a known mean. We have implemented interpolated CDFs in the “binsmooth” package for R. We have implemented the midpoint method in the “rpme” command for Stata. Both implementations can be constrained to match a known mean.

Creative Commons LicenseThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
Paul T. von Hippel: Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs, University of Texas at Austin
Email: paulvonhippel.utaustin@gmail.com

David J. Hunter: Department of Mathematics and Computer Science, Westmont College
Email: dhunter@westmont.edu

McKalie Drown: Department of Mathematics and Computer Science, Westmont College
Email: mdrown@westmont.edu

Acknowledgements: Drown is grateful for support from a Tensor Grant of the Mathematical Association of America.

  • Citation: von Hippel, Paul T., David J. Hunter, and McKalie Drown. 2017. “Better Estimates from Binned Income Data: Interpolated CDFs and Mean-Matching.” Sociological Science 4: 641-655.
  • Received: September 23, 2017
  • Accepted: October 8, 2017
  • Editors: Jesper Sørensen, Stephen Morgan
  • DOI: 10.15195/v4.a26

How Black Are Lakisha and Jamal? Racial Perceptions from Names Used in Correspondence Audit Studies

S. Michael Gaddis

Sociological Science, September 6, 2017
DOI 10.15195/v4.a19

Online correspondence audit studies have emerged as the primary method to examine racial discrimination. Although audits use distinctive names to signal race, few studies scientifically examine data regarding the perception of race from names. Different names treated as black or white may be perceived in heterogeneous ways. I conduct a survey experiment that asks respondents to identify the race they associate with a series of names. I alter the first names given to each respondent and inclusion of last names. Names more commonly given by highly educated black mothers (e.g., Jalen and Nia) are less likely to be perceived as black than names given by less educated black mothers (e.g., DaShawn and Tanisha). The results suggest that a large body of social science evidence on racial discrimination operates under a misguided assumption that all black names are alike, and the findings from correspondence audits are likely sensitive to name selection.

Creative Commons LicenseThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
S. Michael Gaddis: Department of Sociology, University of California, Los Angeles
Email: mgaddis@soc.ucla.edu

Acknowledgements: An earlier version of this article was presented at the 2015 annual meeting of the American Sociological Association in Chicago, IL. Larry D. Schoen provided access to birth record data from New York. Anup Das, Qing Zheng, Betsy Cliff, and Neala Berkowski served as excellent research assistants on this project. I also thank Shawn Bauldry, Colleen Carey, Philip Cohen, Jonathan Daw, René Flores, Devah Pager, Lincoln Quillian, Charles Seguin, and Ashton Verdery for their helpful comments.

  • Citation: Gaddis, S. Michael. 2017. “How Black Are Lakisha and Jamal? Racial Perceptions from Names Used in Correspondence Audit Studies.” Sociological Science 4: 469-489.
  • Received: May 18, 2017
  • Accepted: June 12, 2017
  • Editors: Jesper Sørensen, Olav Sorenson
  • DOI: 10.15195/v4.a19

Financialization Is Marketization! A Study of the Respective Impacts of Various Dimensions of Financialization on the Increase in Global Inequality

Olivier Godechot

Sociological Science, June 29, 2016
DOI 10.15195/v3.a22

In this article, I study the impact of financialization on the rise in inequality in 18 OECD countries from 1970 to 2011 and measure the respective roles of various forms of financialization: the growth of the financial sector; the growth of one of its subcomponents, financial markets; the financialization of non-financial firms; and the financialization of households. I test these impacts using cross-country panel regressions in OECD countries. I show first that the share of the finance sector within the GDP is a substantial driver of world inequality, explaining between 20 and 40 percent of its increase from 1980 to 2007. When I decompose this financial sector effect, I find that this evolution was mainly driven by the increase in the volume of stocks traded in national stock exchanges and by the volume of shares held as assets in banks’ balance sheets. By contrast, the financialization of non-financial firms and of households does not play a substantial role. Based on this inequality test, I therefore interpret financialization as being mainly a phenomenon of marketization, redefined as the growing amount of social energy devoted to the trade of financial instruments on financial markets.

Creative Commons LicenseThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
Olivier Godechot: Sciences Po / MaxPo and OSC-CNRS, Axa Chair Holder
Email: olivier.godechot@sciencespo.fr

Acknowledgements: I am very grateful to Moritz Schularick for sharing his precious data on debt (Jordà and al., 2014). I would like to thank Alex Barnard, Emanuele Ferragina, Neil Fligstein, Elsa Massoc, Cornelia Woll and Nicolas Woloszko for comments on this article.

  • Citation: Godechot, Olivier. 2016. “Financialization Is Marketization! A Study of the Respective Impacts of Various Dimensions of Financialization on the Increase in Global Inequality” Sociological Science 3: 495-519.
  • Received: November 23, 2015
  • Accepted: March 16, 2016
  • Editors: Jesper Sørensen, Kim Weeden
  • DOI: 10.15195/v3.a22

Is There a Caring Class? Intergenerational Transmission of Care Work

Maria Charles, Corrie Ellis, Paula England

Sociological Science, September 30, 2015
DOI 10.15195/v2.a25

Most research on intergenerational social reproduction has been concerned with upward and downward movements across rank-ordered, “big-class” categories or along continuous gradients of status, income, or skill. An exception is the more nominal conceptualization of the social structure offered in recent research that focuses on qualitative differences in life conditions across occupational “micro classes.” The present analysis broadens this nominal approach by considering social reproduction across an important qualitative dimension that bridges multiple occupations: whether or not one’s work centrally involves care. Based on data from the U.S. General Social Surveys, results provide little evidence that care work is transmitted from parents to children. While women and men whose parents worked in care are more likely to do so themselves, this association is attributable to a general tendency for people to work in the same detailed occupation as their parents. Parents pass along their vertical status positions, and sometimes their specific occupations, but not care work as such. Parent–child similarity in caring outcomes likely reflects transmission of values, skills, knowledge, and network ties that are specific to detailed occupations, rather than attributable to care work broadly defined.
Maria Charles: Department of Sociology, University of California, Santa Barbara  Email: mcharles@soc.ucsb.edu

Corrie Ellis: Department of Sociology, University of California, Santa Barbara  Email: corrieellis@umail.ucsb.edu

Paula England: Department of Sociology, New York University  Email: pe22@nyu.edu

Acknowledgements: Equal authors, listed alphabetically. This research was funded by a grant to England and Charles from the Russell Sage Foundation (RSF Project #85-12-05). We thank Alicia Cast, Erin Cech, Bridget Harr, Alexandra Hendley, Sarah Thebaud, and Catherine Weinberger for comments and suggestions, and Guadalupe Soto for research assistance.

  • Citation: Charles, Maria, Corrie Ellis, and Paula England. 2015.“Is There a Caring Class? Intergenerational Transmission of Care Work.” Sociological Science 2: 527-543.
  • Received: July 13, 2015.
  • Accepted: July 17, 2015.
  • Editors: Jesper Sørensen, Kim Weeden
  • DOI: 10.15195/v2.a25

Class Inequality and Adult Attainment Projects among Middle-Aged Men in the United States, 1980—2010

Jeremy Pais, D. Matthew Ray

Sociological Science, April 29, 2015
DOI 10.15195/v2.a11

Adult attainment projects (AAP) consist of a series of traditional adult statuses: labor force participation, residential independence, marriage, parenthood, and homeownership. This article examines these status indicators as integral parts of an individualized attainment project that is best assessed later in adulthood. Close examination of AAP gives novel insights into the changing U.S. opportunity structure that go beyond what can be achieved through studying temporal patterns of adult status indicators independently. From 1980 to 2010, rates of completed AAP declined by double digits, and the difference in the odds of completing AAP between men on different ends of the income distribution doubled. There are structural and cultural explanations for these trends. Divergence hypotheses favor structural explanations involving social stratification processes. Convergence hypotheses favor cultural explanations based on the loosening of norms regarding traditional adult statuses. This article uses factor analytic models on data from the Current Population Survey, in conjunction with formal measurement invariance testing, to evaluate these hypotheses. The adaptive differentiation hypothesis, a blended explanation positing analytically distinct AAP profiles for different socioeconomic groups, receives the most empirical support. The results affirm a structurally prevailing change in the lives of poor, working class, and lower-middle class Americans.
Jeremy Pais: Department of Sociology, University of Connecticut.  Email: j.pais@uconn.edu

D. Matthew Ray: Department of Sociology, University of Connecticut.   Email: matt.ray@uconn.edu

  • Citation: Pais, Jeremy, and D. Matthew Ray. 2015. “Class Inequality and Adult Attainment Projects among Middle-Aged Men in the United States, 1980—2010.” Sociological Science 2:211-234.
  • Received: October 10, 2014
  • Accepted: January 17, 2015
  • Editors: Jesper Sørensen,  Stephen Morgan
  • DOI: 10.15195/v2.a11