Gender, Income, and Inequality
Session G in Room 1.302 D
Moderator: Shannon Cavanagh, PRC Postdoctoral Training Director, Professor, Department of Sociology, UT Austin
Matthew Painter, Associate Professor and Director of Undergraduate Studies, University of North Texas
Women, Work, and Wealth
This project uses the NLSY97 to examine the wealth attainment of women in their early 30s. Various dimensions of work are explored, including hours and weeks worked and industry and occupation. In addition to net worth, this project also looks at home and stock ownership.
Amie Bostic, Assistant Professor, UT at Rio Grande Valley
Family, Work, Economy, or Social Policy: Examining Poverty among Children of Single Mothers in Affluent Democracies between 1985-2016
Using data spanning a period of 31 years and 25 countries, I test four explanations for child poverty: family, work, economy, policy. I examine the effects on children in single mother households separately, then both children in single mother households and children in two-parent households together. I find no support for explanations connected to economic performance within countries. However, I do find support for welfare generosity explanations, especially spending on cash benefits like family allowances. Family structure and labor market activity explanations also affect child poverty, generally in the expected way.
Jordan Conwell, Assistant Professor, Department of Sociology, UT Austin
Toward a Demography of Student Debt: Race-Gender, Higher Education, and Household Finances Across Cohorts and Generations
This paper assesses how the economic context of higher education expansion since the mid-20th century has shaped families’ financial lives—in terms of income and wealth/debt—as well as how these trends have differed for Black and White women and men. We use data from the NLSY-79 (comprising trailing-edge Baby Boomers) and NLSY-97 (comprising early Millennials) to show how similarly situated students born into these two cohorts fared in terms of educational attainment, household income, household wealth, and student debt at age 35. The results highlight unique disadvantages faced by Black women that have accelerated across cohorts. Over time, Black women’s educational attainment has increased substantially, and high-achieving Black women, in particular, have become uniquely likely to progress beyond the BA. But at the same time that Black women have invested in higher education, they also have become uniquely likely to have zero or negative wealth at the household level, and to accrue student debt for themselves and for their children. Our findings demonstrate that the costs of expanded access to credit for higher education have not been borne equally across race, gender, and achievement, and that these patterns have multigenerational financial consequences for college attendees and their families.
Ken-Hou Lin, Associate Professor, Department of Sociology, UT Austin
The Contagion of Labor: Linking Workplace Adjacency and Occupational Mobility
Why is mobility more frequent between some occupations than others? Existing studies have emphasized the importance of task similarity, categorical discrimination, and institutional closure in explaining the flow of labor among occupations. This article argues that workplace plays a fundamental role in generating occupational mobility. Through both personnel practices and social contact, workplace engenders movement among complementary occupations. We examine the connection between workplace and mobility with two studies. First, using a novel measure of occupation-establishment co-presence in the United States, we find that the frequency of two occupations situated in the same workplace accounts for a large portion of between-occupation transitions. The connection is most pronounced for upward mobility and robust for both within- and between-employer transitions. We also find that skill sorting among occupations only occurs under the condition of establishment co-presence, indicating that the skill-centered perspective, by itself, is insufficient in explaining mobility patterns. Second, using employer-employee matched data in France, we show that individual mobility varies by workplace occupational composition. Comparing workers of the same occupation, those in establishments with more co-workers in alter occupations are more likely to transition into these occupations even when moving to another firm. Together, these findings indicate that workplaces are key sites for generating occupational mobility across the labor market and among similar individuals.
Shannon Cavanagh, PRC Postdoctoral Training Director, Professor, Department of Sociology, UT Austin
Maternal Depression Across Early Childhood: Similarities and Differences Across Three Liberal Democracies
Despite women’s higher levels of depression across adulthood, less population-level work has explored trajectories of women’s depression across the years when they are raising young children, in an era where mothering expectations are high, and state supports for families are weak. Using data from three nationally representative birth cohort studies, we investigate trajectories of women’s depression from child’s birth through around age 7. We pay particular attention to how individual level characteristics like union status and maternal education condition these trajectories. Finally, we consider the degree to which these associations reflect differences in state supports for families using post-hoc tests. Preliminary findings from the UK and Australia point to lower but persistent levels of depression across the years when women are engaged in intensive parenting. Union status and education moderate these trajectories but differences across settings suggest that broader family policy might play a role in shaping women’s well-being.
Session H in Room 1.302 E
Moderator: Bridget Goosby, PRC Predoctoral Training Director, Professor, Department of Sociology, UT Austin
Zhiyong Lin, Assistant Professor, UT at San Antonio
Racial/Ethnic Disparities in Unmet Care Needs among Older Adults
About one in three U.S. older adults with disabilities receive insufficient assistance to meet their care needs. Unmet needs is considered an essential indicator of the quality of life and is associated with various adverse outcomes. The growing diversity of the aging population in the U.S. makes it essential for researchers to consider how various intersecting social identities shape older adults’ care receiving experience. Extending previous research on stratification in aging and drawing on the intersectionality perspective, this study aims to investigate how race/ethnicity, gender, and nativity interact to determine unequal experiences of unmet care needs in later life.
Matthew Andersson, Associate Professor, Department of Sociology, Baylor University
Health and Well-Being Disparities by Politics
Recent research finds lower subjective health among liberals as compared to conservatives, juxtaposed with greater viral infection and mortality in conservative-leaning geographic areas. However, because self-reported health reflects multifaceted social conditions, specific mechanisms underpinning health disadvantages await clarification. Utilizing 2021 Gallup national data, we find that disparities in overall health are most consistent across liberal policy beliefs, followed by liberal ideology, party affiliation, then voting behavior. Political health disparities, when significant, are linked to proposed mechanisms of mastery, social support, inequality beliefs, and COVID-19 exposures or attitudes. Disparities are not robust for sleep, exercise, weight gain, or physical limitation.
Christy Erving, Associate Professor, Department of Sociology, UT Austin
Superwoman Schema Endorsement and Black Women’s Health
Research suggests that similar to women overall, Black women are socialized to be communal and “self-sacrificing,” but in contrast to women from other racial/ethnic backgrounds, Black women are also socialized to be “strong” and “invulnerable.” This phenomenon has been labeled Superwoman Schema (SWS), and there is suggestive evidence that it is particularly relevant for Black women’s health. Drawing on data from Black women living in a large U.S. southeastern city, the presentation will draw on findings from Dr. Erving’s ongoing studies that investigate the complex associations between SWS and several health dimensions (e.g., subjective sleep quality, depressive symptoms).
Jenny Spencer, Assistant Professor, Department of Population Health, Dell Medical School, UT Austin
Understanding the Role of Access in Hispanic Cancer Screening Disparities
We used data from the National Health Interview Survey to compare use of cancer screening by Hispanic ethnicity. We performed serial regression to examine whether access variables (usual source of care and type of health insurance) attenuated disparities between Hispanics and non-Hispanic White individuals. Hispanic individuals were less likely than non-Hispanic White individuals to be up to date with cervical cancer screening (71.6% vs. 74.6%) and colorectal cancer screening (52.9% vs. 70.3%), but screening was similar for breast cancer (78.8% vs 76.3%). We find evidence that addressing the high rate of uninsurance among Hispanic individuals could mitigate cancer screening disparities.
Lauren Gaydosh, Assistant Professor, Department of Sociology, UT Austin
Racial/Ethnic and Socioeconomic Disparities in the Health Benefits of Education
Educational attainment plays an increasingly important role in the health and longevity of American adults. Educational gradients in health are steeper today than in the past, as adults with low educational attainment face dramatic declines in life expectancy, and adults with high educational attainment enjoy greater health advantage. However, there is important and underexplored heterogeneity in who benefits from education in terms of health, how much, and under what conditions. Specifically, while the relationship between education and health is robust for Whites, educational gradients in health are shallower or even nonexistent among Black and Hispanic adults. In this talk, I will share findings from my research interrogating racial/ethnic differences in the health returns to education across the life course from childhood to older adulthood.