Advertisement

Race and Social Problems

, Volume 1, Issue 3, pp 157–170 | Cite as

Race and Unemployment Amidst the New Diversity: More Evidence of a Black/Non-Black Divide

  • Amon EmekaEmail author
Article

Abstract

The fact that the United States is more racially and ethnically diverse now than in the past has led scholars to dismiss dichotomous—black/white—conceptions of race as antiquated. However, some others have noted the emergence of a black/non-black divide that is manifest in patterns of residential segregation and intermarriage. This study attempts to determine whether such a dichotomous conception is sufficient to capture the effects of race and ethnicity on unemployment patterns among entry-level workers in the United States. Findings suggest that more than 80% of the effects of race and ethnicity on unemployment can be captured simply by knowing who is black and who is not. The most elaborate conception tested here acknowledges 20 different racial and ethnic groups; it adds significantly but not commensurately to the explanatory power of the models. Despite the increasingly diverse racial and ethnic composition of entry-level labor markets in the United States, it is black exclusion that seems to drive the effects of race and ethnicity on unemployment.

Keywords

Race Ethnicity Unemployment Joblessness Black disadvantage Racial inequality 

Notes

Acknowledgments

I wish to thank Tim Biblarz, Janice Johnson Dias, Reynolds Farley, Ivy Forsythe-Brown, Dan Lichter, John R. Logan, Vincent Louis, Doug Massey, Devah Pager, Katy Pinto, and anonymous reviewers for their thoughtful feedback on earlier versions of this paper. Responsibility for any shortcomings of this work, however, is borne entirely by the author. I would also like to express my appreciation for the research support I received from the University of Southern California Population Research Center (SCPRC) and the National Institute for Child Health and Human Development (NICHD).

References

  1. Alba, R., & Nee, V. (2003). Remaking the American mainstream: Assimilation and contemporary immigration. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  2. Bean, F., & Stevens, G. (2003). America’s newcomers and the dynamics of diversity. New York: Russell Sage.Google Scholar
  3. Becker, G. (1971). The economics of discrimination. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  4. Bertrand, M., & Mullainathan, S. (2004). Are Emily and Greg more employable than Lakisha and Jamal? A field experiment on labor market discrimination. American Economic Review, 94(4), 991–1013.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Blank, R., Dabady, M., & Citro, C. (Eds.). (2004). Measuring racial discrimination. Washington, DC: National Academies Press.Google Scholar
  6. Bonilla-Silva, E., & Glover, K. (2004). ‘We are all Americans’: The Latin Americanization of race relations in the United States. In M. Krysan & A. E. Lewis (Eds.), The changing terrain of race and ethnicity (pp. 149–183). New York: Russell Sage.Google Scholar
  7. Browne, I. (1999). Latinas and African American women in the US labor market. In I. Browne (Ed.), Latinas and African American women at work. New York: Russell Sage.Google Scholar
  8. Browne, I., & Misra, J. (2003). The intersection of gender and race in the labor market. Annual Review of Sociology, 29, 487–513.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Charles, C. Z. (2003). The dynamics of racial residential segregation. Annual Review of Sociology, 29, 167–207.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. D’Amico, R., & Maxwell, N. (1995). The continuing significance of race in minority male joblessness. Social Forces, 73(3), 969–991.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Devine, P., & Elliot, A. (1995). Are racial stereotypes really fading? The Princeton trilogy revisited. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 21(11), 1139–1150.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Farkas, G., & Vicknair, K. (1996). Appropriate tests of racial wage discrimination require controls for cognitive skill: Comment on Cancio, Evans, & Maume. American Sociological Review, 61, 557–560.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Farley, J. E. (1987). Disproportionate black and Hispanic unemployment in US. Metropolitan areas: The roles of racial inequality, segregation and discrimination in male joblessness. American Journal of Economics and Sociology, 46(2), 129–150.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Gans, H. J. (1999). The possibility of a new racial hierarchy in the twenty-first century United States. In M. Lamont (Ed.), The cultural territories of race: Black and white boundaries (pp. 371–379). Chicago, Illinois: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  15. Granovetter, M. (1995). Getting a job: A study of contacts and careers (2nd ed.). Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  16. Hill, H. (1985). Black labor and the American legal system. Madison, Wisconsin: University of Wisconsin Press.Google Scholar
  17. Hirschman, C., & Snipp, C. M. (1999). The state of the American dream: Race and ethnic inequality in the United States, 1970–1990. In P. Moen, D. Dempster-McClain, & H. Walker (Eds.), A nation divided: Diversity, inequality, and community in American society (pp. 89–107). Ithaca, New York: Cornell University Press.Google Scholar
  18. Holzer, H. J. (1996). What employers want: Job prospects for less educated workers. New York: Russell Sage.Google Scholar
  19. Holzer, H. J., Raphael, S., & Stoll, M. (2006). Perceived criminality, criminal background checks and the racial hiring practices of employers. Journal of Law and Economics, 49(2), 451–480.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Kirschenman, J., & Neckerman, K. (1991). “We’d love to hire them, but . . .”: The meaning of race for employers. In C. Jencks & P. E. Petersen (Eds.), The urban underclass (pp. 203–232). Washington, DC: The Brookings Institution.Google Scholar
  21. Lee, J., & Bean, F. D. (2004). America’s changing color lines. Annual Review of Sociology, 30, 221–242.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Lee, J., & Bean, F. D. (2007). Reinventing the color line: Immigration and America’s new racial/ethnic divide. Social Forces, 86(2), 561–586.Google Scholar
  23. Lewis, A. E., Krysan, M., & Harris, N. (2004). Introduction: Assessing changes in the meaning and significance of race and ethnicity. In M. Krysan & A. E. Lewis (Eds.), The changing terrain of race and ethnicity (pp. 1–10). New York: Russell Sage.Google Scholar
  24. Lieberson, S. (1980). A piece of the pie: Blacks and white immigrants since 1890. Los Angeles: University of California Press.Google Scholar
  25. Long, J. S. (1997). Regression models for categorical and limited dependent variables. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.Google Scholar
  26. Mare, R., & Winship, C. (1984). The paradox of lessening racial inequality and joblessness among black youth: Enrollment, enlistment, and employment, 1964–1981. American Sociological Review, 49(1), 39–55.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Moss, P., & Tilly, C. (2001). Stories employers tell: Race, skill, and hiring in America. New York: Russell Sage Foundation.Google Scholar
  28. Murnane, R., Willett, J., & Levy, F. (1995). The growing importance of cognitive skills in wage determination. Review of Economics and Statistics, 77, 251–266.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Neal, D., & Johnson, W. R. (1996). The role of pre-market factors in black-white wage differences. Journal of Political Economy, 104, 869–895.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Padavic, I., & Reskin, B. (2002). Women and men at work. Thousand Oaks, California: Pine Forge Press.Google Scholar
  31. Pager, D. (2003). The mark of a criminal record. American Journal of Sociology, 108(5), 937–975.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Pager, D. (2007). The use of field experiments for studies of employment discrimination: Contributions, critiques, and directions for the future. Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, 609, 104–133.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Pager, D., & Quillian, L. (2005). Walking the talk? What employers say versus what they do. American Sociological Review, 70(3), 355–380.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Peterson, S. (1997). Are black men really less willing to work? American Sociological Review, 62(4), 605–613.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Peterson, S. (1998). Black-white differences in reservation wages and joblessness: A replication. Journal of Human Resources, 33(3), 758–770.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Portes, A., & Rumbaut, R. (2001). Legacies: The story of the immigrant second generation. Los Angeles: University of California Press.Google Scholar
  37. Portes, A., & Rumbaut, R. (2006). Immigrant America: A portrait. Los Angeles: University of California Press.Google Scholar
  38. Reskin, B. (1993). Sex segregation in the workplace. Annual Review of Sociology, 19, 241–270.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Ruggles, S., Sobek, M., Alexander, T., Fitch, C. A., Goeken, R., & Hall, P. K. et al. (2008). Integrated public use microdata series: Version 4.0 [Machine-readable database]. Minneapolis, MN: Minnesota Population Center [producer and distributor].Google Scholar
  40. Rumbaut, R. G. (2004). Ages, life stages, and generational cohorts: Decomposing the immigrant first and second generations in the United States. International Migration Review, 38(3), 1160–1205.Google Scholar
  41. Sakamoto, A., Wu, H., & Tzeng, J. M. (2000). The declining significance of race among American men during the latter half of the twentieth century. Demography, 37(1), 41–51.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Sidanius, J., & Pratto, F. (1999). Social dominance: An intergroup theory of social hierarchy and oppression. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  43. Stratton, L. (1993). Racial differences in men’s unemployment. Industrial and Labor Relations Review, 46(3), 451–463.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Thurow, L. (1975). Generating inequality: Mechanisms of distribution in the US Economy. New York: Basic Books.Google Scholar
  45. US Census Bureau. (2007). American community survey: Using the data—quality measures. http://www.census.gov/acs/www/UseData/sse/.
  46. Waldinger, R., & Lichter, M. (2003). How the other half works: Immigration and the social organization of labor. Los Angeles: University of California Press.Google Scholar
  47. Western, B. (2006). Punishment and inequality in America. New York: Russell Sage.Google Scholar
  48. Wilson, W. J. (1987). The truly disadvantaged: The inner city, the underclass, and public policy. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  49. Yancey, G. (2003). Who is white? Latinos, Asians and the new black/non-black divide. Boulder, Colorado: Lynne Reinner Publishers.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of Southern CaliforniaLos AngelesUSA

Personalised recommendations