Race is history

Kevin Lewis

June 12, 2018

Neither Here nor There? How the New Geography of Ethnic Minority Entrepreneurship Disadvantages African Americans
Mahesh Somashekhar
Social Problems, forthcoming


Recent research shows that the foreign born utilize both local and long-distance social relationships to become entrepreneurs, affecting immigrants' chances at upward mobility and their contributions to economic development. Scholars have yet to assess how African American entrepreneurs take part in similar types of geographically dispersed business communities. Using multi-level social network analyses and OLS regressions to compare the geography of buyer-supplier ties originating from one immigrant neighborhood and one African American neighborhood in Chicago, this article highlights a unique mechanism that places African Americans at a disadvantage compared to immigrants: a lack of geographic diversity in African American social capital. Immigrant entrepreneurs' social networks, unlike African Americans' networks, connect the foreign born to more people in different places, enabling them to circumvent the limitations of their local communities and accrue more business assets. Contrary to existing research, many foreign-born business owners in this study relied on intra-national rather than local or transnational social ties. These findings challenge researchers to reevaluate the geographic foundations of immigrant and African American entrepreneurship and reexamine how ethnic minority entrepreneurship affects patterns of social stratification and economic development.

Dynastic Human Capital and Black-White Earnings Differentials in the United States, 1940-2000
Chad Turner et al.
Journal of Human Capital, Summer 2018, Pages 385-430


We examine whether dynastic human capital (DHC) can explain the black-white wage gap. We fit a quantity-quality model to state-level data on fertility, mortality, and schooling but, notably, not earnings. Racial discrimination raised the cost of black schooling, thus depressing DHC not only of the current generation but of future generations via its role in producing human capital. Birth-state DHC helps explain the wage gap among stayers, while current-state DHC helps explain the gap among movers. These findings highlight the role of intergenerational transmission in the persistence of the wage gap and the role of migration in reducing it.

The Paradox of Expanding Ghettos and Declining Racial Segregation in Large U.S. Metropolitan Areas, 1970-2010
Janice Fanning Madden & Matt Ruther
Journal of Housing Economics, June 2018, Pages 117-128


This paper describes the dynamics of racial desegregation over forty years in 51 large US metropolitan areas, examining how the initial racial compositions of neighborhoods affect the later racial composition of the neighborhood and overall metropolitan area desegregation. After documenting integration arising from the increasing dispersion of black households across neighborhoods that were entirely, or disproportionately, non-black, we identify a stark exception: non-blacks do not move to neighborhoods that are over-90% black. The surprise is that, while the mean proportions of metropolitan black populations residing in such highly segregated neighborhoods decreased, the numbers of such neighborhoods actually increased in most metropolitan areas. The expansions of black neighborhoods, even as segregation decreases, pose challenges for local development and for continued racial integration.

Intermarriage and the U.S. Military
Christina Houseworth & Keoka Grayson
Armed Forces & Society, forthcoming


This article uses a comprehensive descriptive analysis to examine the determinants of racial intermarriage for native-born men and women using the 2012 American Community Survey. A comparison between military and civilian samples is the main focus of the article. We improve upon the existing literature by identifying the proximity of the respondent's current residence to a military base and including an analysis of anti-miscegenation laws by state. Further, we provide a cohort analysis to parse out generational differences. We find that military members are more likely to intermarry, regardless of cohort, and that non-White military members have higher rates of education than their civilian counterparts. Black females in the military are more educated and have a significantly higher rate of intermarriage than their civilian counterparts. Additionally, the difference in intermarriage rates between civilian and military members is 31 percentage points higher for Black women than Black men.

Wealth, Slave Ownership, and Fighting for the Confederacy: An Empirical Study of the American Civil War
Andrew Hall, Connor Huff & Shiro Kuriwaki
Stanford Working Paper, February 2018


How did personal wealth affect the likelihood southerners fought for the Confederate Army in the American Civil War? We offer competing accounts for how we should expect individual wealth, in the form of land, and atrociously, in slaves, to affect white men's decisions to join the Confederate Army. We assemble a dataset on roughly 3.9 million white citizens in Confederate states, and we show that slaveowners were more likely to fight in the Confederate Army than non-slaveowners. To see if these links are causal, we exploit a randomized land lottery in 19th-century Georgia. Households of lottery winners owned more slaves in 1850 and were more likely to have sons who fought in the Confederate Army than were households who did not win the lottery. Our results suggest that for wealthy southerners, the stakes associated with the conflict's threat to end the institution of slavery overrode the incentives to free-ride and to avoid paying the costs of war.

Local Origins: Context, Group Identity, and Politics of Place
Bryan Wilcox-Archuleta
Political Research Quarterly, forthcoming


In-group identity is particularly important in understanding political behavior among minority populations living in the United States. Despite its importance, we know relativity little about what explains variation in perceptions of group identity among U.S.-based minority groups. I develop a theoretical framework drawing extensively for social identity theory to explain development of in-group identities among Latinos in the United States. I suggest the availability of neighborhood-level ethnic stimuli increases the likelihood that Latinos will come to see themselves a part of pan-ethnic group rather than a unique individual. I use the 2008 Collaborative Multi-Racial Political Survey (CMPS), a nationally representative public opinion poll of registered voters with oversamples of Latino respondents. I find that the availability of ethnic stimuli positively associates with stronger perceptions of group identity among Latinos. Latinos who live in contexts rich with ethnic stimuli and cues are more likely to adopt in-group identities than those who live in environments lacking ethnically salient resources.

Light-Rail Investment in Seattle: Gentrification Pressures and Trends in Neighborhood Ethnoracial Composition
Chris Hess
Urban Affairs Review, forthcoming


Research often finds a positive relationship between public transportation investment and gentrification in nearby neighborhoods. This dynamic is particularly important in urban contexts that plan for transit-oriented development and creating future "walkability." In this study, I demonstrate a link between transit investment and changing neighborhood racial and ethnic composition, using a case study of the recent light-rail project in Seattle, Washington. Descriptive analyses and difference-in-difference models suggest that affected neighborhoods in Seattle experienced rising shares of non-Hispanic Whites following the start of light-rail construction, while neighborhoods at the suburban periphery of the line saw substantial growth in racial and ethnic diversity. These findings highlight the role of transit infrastructure in restructuring demographic trajectories of nearby neighborhoods and contribute evidence about shifting patterns of residential segregation in the area around the transit line.

Leadership and Social Norms: Evidence from the Forty-Eighters in the Civil War
Christian Dippel & Stephan Heblich
NBER Working Paper, May 2018


A growing theoretical literature emphasizes the role that leaders play in shaping beliefs and social norms. We provide empirical evidence for such 'civic leadership.' We focus on the Forty-Eighters, a group of political refugees from Germany's failed 1848 revolutions, and their role in the struggle for the abolition of slavery in the United States. Our primary outcome is volunteering for the Union Army. Given the enormously high death toll during the Civil War, this variable provides a powerful measure of social norms against slavery. We show that towns where Forty-Eighters settled in the 1850s increased their Union Army enlistments by eighty percent over the course of the war. Using machine-learning techniques to infer soldiers' ancestry, we find that the Forty-Eighters had the biggest impact on the enlistment of German Americans, a smaller effect on English-speaking men (American and Irish), and yet a smaller effect on Scandinavian and Italian men. Forty-Eighters who fought in the war and were successful at raising a regiment had the biggest effect on enlistment, and Forty-Eighters also had a discernible effect in the field of battle, lowering their fellow soldiers' likelihood of desertion.

The Occupational Status of Jews in the United States on the Eve of the US Civil War
Barry Chiswick
George Washington University Working Paper, March 2018


The Public Use Microdata Sample (PUMS) from the 1860 Census of Population (one percent sample of free people) is used to study the occupational distribution and the determinants of socio-economic status of Jewish men (age 16 to 60) compared to other free men. Jews cannot be identified directly, but two versions of the Distinctive Jewish Name (DJN) technique are used to identify men with a higher probability of being Jewish. The men identified as likely to be Jewish are more likely to be in managerial, clerical, machine operator, and sales (especially as peddlers) occupations. They are less likely to be in farm related occupations as owners, tenants, managers, or laborers. Using multiple regression analysis to study the Duncan Socio-Economic Index (SEI), it is found that the index increases with age (at a decreasing rate), literacy, being married, and living in the South. It is lower among (free) non-whites, among the foreign-born, those with more children, and those living in rural areas (especially on farms). Other variables the same, US-born Jews do not differ significantly in SEI from other free, native-born men, but foreign-born Jews have a significantly higher SEI than other immigrants or even US-born non-Jews.

Racial and Ethnic Differences in the Relationship Between Educational Mobility and Crime
Christopher Dennison
Race and Justice, forthcoming


Increases in postsecondary enrollment among minorities, decreases among Whites, and the growing concern of downward intergenerational mobility in the United States suggest potentially meaningful variation in the role of education on well-being across the life course. Using data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health, the present study examines the relationship between intergenerational educational mobility (i.e., a comparison of one's educational achievements to those of one's parents') and crime, as well as the degree to which this association is moderated by race and ethnicity. Results suggest that upward mobility particularly when one completes a 4-year degree is associated with decreases in crime. Downward mobility, however, is associated with increases in crime only among Whites. Moreover, and consistent with theories of social mobility, strain, and social control, these associations are partially mediated by familial and socioeconomic attainments as well as social-psychological measures. Findings are discussed as they relate to the subjective and objective meaning of education across generations for Whites, Blacks, and Hispanics.

Black-White Differences in the Relationship between Parental Income and Depression in Young Adulthood: The Different Roles of Family Support and College Enrollment among U.S. Adolescents
Kiwoong Park
Sociology of Race and Ethnicity, forthcoming


This study uses the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health to examine racially patterned mechanisms linking parental income and early adult depression, focusing on the mediating roles of family support and college enrollment. Findings suggest two noteworthy Black-White differences. First, parental income is positively correlated with depression for Black adolescents through family support. This is because high parental income tends to decrease family support for Black adolescents, a pattern not replicated for White adolescents. Second, college enrollment mediates the relationship between parental income and adult depression for Whites but not Blacks. This is because Black respondents in high-income families tend to have lower chances of college enrollment than their White counterparts, and this also leads to unequal mental health benefits for highly educated Blacks. These results, framed within a life-course perspective, provide insights about how the pathways from class to mental health are shaped by race.

"Will the Jungle Take Over?" National Review and the Defense of Western Civilization in the Era of Civil Rights and African Decolonization
Jesse Curtis
Journal of American Studies, forthcoming


During the 1950s and 1960s, conservative intellectuals in the United States described African decolonization and the civil rights movement as symptoms of a global threat to white, Western civilization. In the most influential conservative journal of the period, National Review, writers such as William F. Buckley grouped these events together as dangerous contributors to civilizational decline. In the crucible of transnational black revolt, some conservative intellectuals embraced scientific racism in the 1960s. These often-ignored features of conservative intellectual thought provided space for white supremacist ideals to continue to ferment on the American right into the twenty-first century.

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