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Urban Inequality

Urban Inequality: Evidence From Four Cities

Alice O’connor
Chris Tilly
Lawrence D. Bobo
Copyright Date: 2001
Published by: Russell Sage Foundation
Pages: 564
https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.7758/9781610444316
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  • Book Info
    Urban Inequality
    Book Description:

    Despite today's booming economy, secure work and upward mobility remain out of reach for many central-city residents.Urban Inequalitypresents an authoritative new look at the racial and economic divisions that continue to beset our nation's cities. Drawing upon a landmark survey of employers and households in four U.S. metropolises, Atlanta, Boston, Detroit, and Los Angeles, the study links both sides of the labor market, inquiring into the job requirements and hiring procedures of employers, as well as the skills, housing situation, and job search strategies of workers. Using this wealth of evidence, the authors discuss the merits of rival explanations of urban inequality. Do racial minorities lack the skills and education demanded by employers in today's global economy? Have the jobs best matched to the skills of inner-city workers moved to outlying suburbs? Or is inequality the result of racial discrimination in hiring, pay, and housing? Each of these explanations may provide part of the story, and the authors shed new light on the links between labor market disadvantage, residential segregation, and exclusionary racial attitudes.

    In each of the four cities, old industries have declined and new commercial centers have sprung up outside the traditional city limits, while new immigrant groups have entered all levels of the labor market. Despite these transformations, longstanding hostilities and lines of segregation between racial and ethnic communities are still apparent in each city. This book reveals how the disadvantaged position of many minority workers is compounded by racial antipathies and stereotypes that count against them in their search for housing and jobs.

    Until now, there has been little agreement on the sources of urban disadvantage and no convincing way of adjudicating between rival theories.Urban Inequalityaims to advance our understanding of the causes of urban inequality as a first step toward ensuring that the nation's cities can prosper in the future without leaving their minority residents further behind.

    A Volume in the Multi-City Study of Urban Inequality

    eISBN: 978-1-61044-431-6
    Subjects: Sociology, Political Science

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Contributors
    (pp. ix-x)
  4. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xi-xii)
    Alice O’connor, Chris Tilly and Lawrence D. Bobo
  5. Introduction UNDERSTANDING INEQUALITY IN THE LATE TWENTIETH-CENTURY METROPOLIS: NEW PERSPECTIVES ON THE ENDURING RACIAL DIVIDE
    (pp. 1-33)
    Alice O’Connor

    The United States enters the new millennium amidst widespread celebration of its vast prosperity. That prosperity is marred, however, by the same great problems with which the twentieth century began: growing inequality in the distribution of wealth, income, and opportunity; a rapidly restructuring “new economy” that is destabilizing older patterns of work and community; ethnic tensions sparked by the steady arrival of “new,” racially “other” immigrants; and the endurance of what W. E. B. DuBois prophetically described one hundred years ago when he wrote that “the problem of the twentieth century is the problem of the color line; the relation...

  6. 1 METROPOLISES OF THE MULTI-CITY STUDY OF URBAN INEQUALITY: SOCIAL, ECONOMIC, DEMOGRAPHIC, AND RACIAL ISSUES IN ATLANTA, BOSTON, DETROIT, AND LOS ANGELES
    (pp. 34-86)
    Reynolds Farley

    The Multi-City Study of Urban Inequality investigated racial differences in social and economic status in four of the nation’s largest metropolises in the 1990s. This study sought to answer questions about why African Americans remain disadvantaged on almost all economic indicators thirty years after the civil rights revolution altered not only the nation’s laws but its values about the legitimacy of racial discrimination. Another important aim of this study was to describe the racial and economic change now occurring in major ports of entry as many Latinos and Asians migrate to the United States. This chapter provides an overview of...

  7. PART I RACIAL ATTITUDES

    • 2 STEREOTYPING AND URBAN INEQUALITY
      (pp. 89-162)
      Lawrence D. Bobo and Michael P. Massagli

      Social inequality is understood and studied as fundamentally involving a set of structural conditions and processes. Whether the main analytical perspective emphasizes Marxian class dynamics, distinct labor markets and sectors, major institutional actors, or key social policy decisions, supra-individual factors are typically the focus of attention. Yet, according to the sociologists Katherine O’Sullivan See and William Julius Wilson, “It is important to underline that different types of ethnic stratification are not only structured by different arrangements of the economy and the polity, they are also shaped by the participants in the intergroup arena” (1989, 238). To wit, the perceptions and...

    • 3 PERCEIVED GROUP DISCRIMINATION AND POLICY ATTITUDES: THE SOURCES AND CONSEQUENCES OF THE RACE AND GENDER GAPS
      (pp. 163-214)
      James R. Kluegel and Lawrence D. Bobo

      Social science research gives a complex picture of factors shaping racial, ethnic, and gender inequalities. Yet, when the subject of inequality enters public discourse, and especially that involving social policy, the discussion often becomes simplified to assessments of whether or not a group is treated unfairly in the economic order. Is a group a victim of discrimination, and, if so, how much discrimination does it suffer?

      The substantial gap between whites and African Americans in perceptions of how much discrimination is experienced by African Americans has been underscored by several scholars (Bobo and Kluegel 1997; Feagin and Vera 1995; Hochschild...

  8. PART II RESIDENCE, EMPLOYMENT, AND THE SIGNIFICANCE OF SPACE

    • 4 PROCESSES OF RACIAL RESIDENTIAL SEGREGATION
      (pp. 217-271)
      Camille Zubrinsky Charles

      Racial residential segregation is the result of a complex set of individual- and institutional-level processes whose relative importance researchers continue to debate. The discussion is impaired by the fact that the vast majority of segregation studies are limited in focus to a single metropolitan area and/or a black-white paradigm (Farley et al. 1978, 1993; Kain 1986; Massey and Denton 1989, 1993; Clark 1986, 1992; Galster 1988, 1989, 1991; Galster and Keeney 1988). That segregation research typically fails to include both individual- and aggregate-level measures and a multiethnic sample often causes researchers and policy analysts to hesitate in extending findings beyond...

    • 5 ETHNIC RESIDENTIAL SEGREGATION AND ITS CONSEQUENCES
      (pp. 272-303)
      Franklin D. Wilson and Roger B. Hammer

      The literature on the extent, causes, and consequences of ethnic residential segregation is extensive and continues to increase (Clark 1986; Zubrinsky and Bobo 1996; Farley and Frey 1996; Massey and Denton 1993; Farley et al. 1994; White 1987). This is hardly surprising, considering that residential segregation is dynamic and is responsive to changes in the ethnic composition of cities, market forces that affect the supply and demand for housing, and intergroup dynamics that substantially affect residence decisions. In this chapter, we will analyze the association of attitudes and perceptions with the ethnic (racial) composition of residential neighborhoods and, in turn,...

    • 6 SPACE AS A SIGNAL: HOW EMPLOYERS PERCEIVE NEIGHBORHOODS IN FOUR METROPOLITAN LABOR MARKETS
      (pp. 304-338)
      Chris Tilly, Philip Moss, Joleen Kirschenman and Ivy Kennelly

      Employers do not carry out their business in a geographic vacuum. They are surrounded by a spatial environment, and each manager forms his or her own mental map of that environment. Employers’ maps, in turn, have important effects on the labor market. In this chapter, we use data from in-depth employer surveys in the four metropolitan areas of the Multi-City Study of Urban Inequality to examine employers’ mental maps, and how these maps shape their actions in labor markets. We particularly emphasize how space is linked to race in employers’ minds and the consequences of that racialization for black and...

  9. PART III INEQUALITY AND THE STRUCTURE OF LABOR MARKET OPPORTUNITY

    • 7 RACIAL AND ETHNIC DIFFERENCES IN JOB SEARCHING IN URBAN CENTERS
      (pp. 341-371)
      Luis M. Falcón and Edwin Melendez

      Most social and economic inequality across racial groups in American society is rooted in disparities in their position in the labor market. Labor market inequality has been a core concern of a large body of literature in sociology and economics. A substantial literature documents differences in labor market performance and rewards across racial and ethnic groups. These differences, it is argued, are largely due to differential human capital endowments across groups and/or to larger processes, such as shifts in the spatial distribution of jobs, and to discrimination (Baldwin and Johnson, 1996; Blackley 1990; Holzer 1994; Jencks 1991; Wilson 1983, 1988)....

    • 8 INEQUALITY THROUGH LABOR MARKETS, FIRMS, AND FAMILIES: THE INTERSECTION OF GENDER AND RACE-ETHNICITY ACROSS THREE CITIES
      (pp. 372-406)
      Irene Browne, Leann Tigges and Julie Press

      Most scholars recognize that investigations of race and ethnic inequality need to take gender into account. Women of color are described in the literature as experiencing “double” or even “multiple” jeopardy in the labor market, with the dual disadvantage of gender and race-ethnicity pushing African American and Latina women to the bottom of the wage hierarchy, and a dual privilege elevating white men to the top (King 1989). Feminist scholars, in particular, argue that race and gender cannot be studied separately, as if they were analytically independent “systems”; race and gender intersect within social institutions, creating unique conditions for various...

    • 9 LINKING THE MULTI-CITY STUDY’S HOUSEHOLD AND EMPLOYER SURVEYS TO TEST FOR RACE AND GENDER EFFECTS IN HIRING AND WAGE SETTING
      (pp. 407-443)
      Tom Hertz, Chris Tilly and Michael P. Massagli

      One of the main challenges in empirical research on race and gender discrimination in the labor market is that of measuring and controlling for the full range of factorsotherthan discrimination that may explain observed differences in pay or employment rates between men and women, and between whites and people of color. The Multi-City Study of Urban Inequality and its cousin, the Multi-City Telephone Employer Survey, are particularly well suited to this task, for several reasons. First, the Household Survey contains questions on a number of attributes that fall under the general heading of human capital, including an informal...

    • 10 WHY OPPORTUNITY ISN’T KNOCKING: RACIAL INEQUALITY AND THE DEMAND FOR LABOR
      (pp. 444-495)
      Philip Moss and Chris Tilly

      Over the last few years, the message the U.S. government has clearly sent is that, with few exceptions, poor people are expected to work their way out of poverty. The federal welfare reform passed in 1996 includes work requirements and time limits designed to push about one million women, most with limited education, into the workforce (Albelda and Tilly 1997). Other recent federal and state policies embody a similar philosophy. The notion behind these policies is that large numbers of poor people are failing to seize the available labor market opportunities; in order to prosper, they need stronger incentives to...

    • 11 ARE JOBS AVAILABLE FOR DISADVANTAGED WORKERS IN URBAN AREAS?
      (pp. 496-538)
      Harry J. Holzer and Sheldon Danziger

      Are jobs available to everyone who wants to work? Many academic and policy debates over the nature and causes of unemployment and poverty turn on the answer to this question. For instance, William Julius Wilson (1987, 1996) has argued that the lack of jobs in inner cities has contributed to the social dislocations that have occurred there. In contrast, Lawrence Mead’s arguments (1992) regarding work requirements and government paternalism implicitly (or explicitly) assume that work is available to almost anyone who seeks it.

      The contentious welfare reform debate of the mid-1990s centers on the same question. The Personal Responsibility and...

  10. Index
    (pp. 539-550)
  11. Back Matter
    (pp. 551-551)