Discrimination and Poverty

  • Shelley Correll
  • Cecilia Ridgeway
  • David Pedulla

Leaders: Shelley Correll, David Pedulla, Cecilia Ridgeway 

The Poverty and Discrimination RG is charged with developing a regularized protocol for measuring the amount and extent of discrimination in labor and housing markets. It is increasingly clear that labor market discrimination, far from withering away, remains very prominent for many statuses and in many types of markets. However, because this research tradition is based on “one-off” audit studies and laboratory experiments, it is not possible to compare across studies and assess which types of discrimination are the most important or the most resistant to change. There is accordingly a need to build a standardized protocol for monitoring trends in discrimination across the various types of discrimination in play (e.g., poverty status, employment status, homelessness, economic background, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, incarceration status, citizenship, religion, disability). The twofold objective of this protocol is to make it possible to assess which types of discrimination are especially prominent and which types are growing weaker or stronger over time.


Discrimination - CPI Research

Title Author Media
Why Status Matters for Inequality Cecilia L. Ridgeway

Why Status Matters for Inequality

Author: Cecilia L. Ridgeway
Date: 02/2014

To understand the mechanisms behind social inequality, this address argues that we need to more thoroughly incorporate the effects of status—inequality based on differences in esteem and respect—alongside those based on resources and power. As a micro motive for behavior, status is as significant as money and power. At a macro level, status stabilizes resource and power inequality by transforming it into cultural status beliefs about group differences regarding who is “better” (esteemed and competent). But cultural status beliefs about which groups are “better” constitute group differences as independent dimensions of inequality that generate material advantages due to group membership itself. Acting through micro-level social relations in workplaces, schools, and elsewhere, status beliefs bias evaluations of competence and suitability for authority, bias associational preferences, and evoke resistance to status challenges from low-status group members. These effects accumulate to direct members of higher status groups toward positions of resources and power while holding back lower status group members. Through these processes, status writes group differences such as gender, race, and class-based life style into organizational structures of resources and power, creating durable inequality. Status is thus a central mechanism behind durable patterns of inequality based on social differences.

Minimizing the motherhood penalty: What works, what doesn’t and why? Shelley J. Correll

Minimizing the motherhood penalty: What works, what doesn’t and why?

Author: Shelley J. Correll
Date: 01/2013
Framed by Gender: How Gender Inequality Persists in the Modern World Cecilia L. Ridgeway

Framed by Gender: How Gender Inequality Persists in the Modern World

Author: Cecilia L. Ridgeway
Date: 02/2011

In an advanced society like the U.S., where an array of processes work against gender inequality, how does this inequality persist? Integrating research from sociology, social cognition and psychology, and organizational behavior, Framed by Gender identifies the general processes through which gender as a principle of inequality rewrites itself into new forms of social and economic organization. Cecilia Ridgeway argues that people confront uncertain circumstances with gender beliefs that are more traditional than those circumstances. They implicitly draw on the too-convenient cultural frame of gender to help organize new ways of doing things, thereby re-inscribing trailing gender stereotypes into the new activities, procedures, and forms of organization. This dynamic does not make equality unattainable, but suggests a constant struggle with uneven results. Demonstrating how personal interactions translate into larger structures of inequality, Framed by Gender is a powerful and original take on the troubling endurance of gender inequality. 

Normative Discrimination and the Motherhood Penalty Shelley J. Correll , Stephen Benard

Normative Discrimination and the Motherhood Penalty

Author: Shelley J. Correll , Stephen Benard
Publisher: Sage Publications
Date: 10/2010

This research proposes and tests a new theoretical mechanism to account for a portion of the motherhood penalty in wages and related labor market outcomes. At least a portion of this penalty is attributable to discrimination based on the assumption that mothers are less competent and committed than other types of workers. But what happens when mothers definitively prove their competence and commitment? In this study, we examine whether mothers face discrimination in labor-market-type evaluations even when they provide indisputable evidence that they are competent and committed to paid work. We test the hypothesis that evaluators discriminate against highly successful mothers by viewing them as less warm, less likable, and more interpersonally hostile than otherwise similar workers who are not mothers. The results support this “normative discrimination” hypothesis for female but not male evaluators. The findings have important implications for understanding the nature and persistence of discrimination toward mothers.


Worlds in Motion: Understanding International Migration at the End of the Millennium Massey Douglas S.

Worlds in Motion: Understanding International Migration at the End of the Millennium

Author: Massey Douglas S.
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Date: 01/1999

discrimination - CPI Affiliates

Bart Landry's picture Bart Landry Professor of Sociology, Emeritus
University of Maryland
Jayashri Srikantiah's picture Jayashri Srikantiah Professor of Law; Director Immigrants' Rights Clinic
Stanford University
Joanne Martin's picture Joanne Martin Fred H. Merrill Professor of Organizational Behavior; Professor of Sociology (by courtesy)
Stanford University
John J. Donohue III C. Wendell and Edith M. Carlsmith Professor of Law
Stanford University
Kazimierz Slomczynski's picture Kazimierz Slomczynski Professor of Sociology, Emeritus; Director of CONSIRT (Cross-National Studies: Interdisciplinary Research and Training Program
The Ohio State University


Discrimination - Other Research

Title Author Media
Effect of Neighborhood Stigma on Economic Transactions Max Besbris, Jacob William Faber, Peter Rich, Patrick Sharkey

Effect of Neighborhood Stigma on Economic Transactions

Author: Max Besbris, Jacob William Faber, Peter Rich, Patrick Sharkey
Publisher: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Date: 04/2015

The hypothesis of neighborhood stigma predicts that individuals who reside in areas known for high crime, poverty, disorder, and/or racial isolation embody the negative characteristics attributed to their communities and experience suspicion and mistrust in their interactions with strangers. This article provides an experimental test of whether neighborhood stigma affects individuals in one domain of social life: economic transactions. To evaluate the neighborhood stigma hypothesis, this study adopts an audit design in a locally organized, online classified market, using advertisements for used iPhones and randomly manipulating the neighborhood of the seller. The primary outcome under study is the number of responses generated by sellers from disadvantaged relative to advantaged neighborhoods. Advertisements from disadvantaged neighborhoods received significantly fewer responses than advertisements from advantaged neighborhoods. Results provide robust evidence that individuals from disadvantaged neighborhoods bear a stigma that influences their prospects in economic exchanges. The stigma is greater for advertisements originating from disadvantaged neighborhoods where the majority of residents are black. This evidence reveals that residence in a disadvantaged neighborhood not only affects individuals through mechanisms involving economic resources, institutional quality, and social networks but also affects residents through the perceptions of others.

Gender Inequality in Science Andrew M. Penner

Gender Inequality in Science

Author: Andrew M. Penner
Publisher: Science
Date: 01/2015

Why are women underrepresented in many areas of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM)? This is a question with no easy answers. In science, as in many areas of life, bias against women exists (1), but researchers disagree on how much bias matters: Some suggest that the effects of bias accumulate over time to shape careers (2), whereas others argue that gender differences in preferences are much more important (3). However, it is likely impossible to disentangle the effects of societal bias and individual preferences, because people's understanding of gender differences shape their preferences (4). Research suggests differences in innate ability are unlikely to play a major role (3), but one route to more equal representation across academic fields might be convincing both women and men that this is true. On page 262 of this issue, Leslie et al. (5) show that how ability is viewed within a field plays a key role in how well women are represented.

Overwork and the Slow Convergence in the Gender Gap in Wages Youngjoo Cha, Kim A. Weeden

Overwork and the Slow Convergence in the Gender Gap in Wages

Author: Youngjoo Cha, Kim A. Weeden
Publisher: American Sociological Review
Date: 04/2014

Despite rapid changes in women’s educational attainment and continuous labor force experience, convergence in the gender gap in wages slowed in the 1990s and stalled in the 2000s. Using CPS data from 1979 to 2009, we show that convergence in the gender gap in hourly pay over these three decades was attenuated by the increasing prevalence of “overwork” (defined as working 50 or more hours per week) and the rising hourly wage returns to overwork. Because a greater proportion of men engage in overwork, these changes raised men’s wages relative to women’s and exacerbated the gender wage gap by an estimated 10 percent of the total wage gap. This overwork effect was sufficiently large to offset the wage-equalizing effects of the narrowing gender gap in educational attainment and other forms of human capital. The overwork effect on trends in the gender gap in wages was most pronounced in professional and managerial occupations, where long work hours are especially common and the norm of overwork is deeply embedded in organizational practices and occupational cultures. These results illustrate how new ways of organizing work can perpetuate old forms of gender inequality.

From motherhood penalties to husband premia: The new challenge for gender equality and family policy, lessons from Norway Trond Petersen, Andrew M. Penner, Geir Høgsnes

From motherhood penalties to husband premia: The new challenge for gender equality and family policy, lessons from Norway

Author: Trond Petersen, Andrew M. Penner, Geir Høgsnes
Publisher: American Journal of Sociology
Date: 03/2014

Given the key role that processes occurring in the family play in creating gender inequality, the family is a central focus of policies aimed at creating greater gender equality. We examine how family status affects the gender wage gap using longitudinal matched employer-employee data from Norway, 1979–96, a period with extensive expansion of family policies. The motherhood penalty dropped dramatically from 1979 to 1996. Among men the premia for marriage and fatherhood remained constant. In 1979, the gender wage gap was primarily due to the motherhood penalty, but by 1996 husband premia were more important than motherhood penalties.

Vulnerable Populations and Transformative Law Teaching Society of American Law Teachers, Golden Gate...

Vulnerable Populations and Transformative Law Teaching

Author: Society of American Law Teachers, Golden Gate...
Publisher: Carolina Academic Press
Date: 03/2011

The essays included in this volume began as presentations at the March 19–20, 2010 “Vulnerable Populations and Economic Realities” teaching conference organized and hosted by Golden Gate University School of Law and co-sponsored by the Society of American Law Teachers (SALT). That conference, generously funded by a grant from The Elfenworks Foundation, brought together law faculty, practitioners, and students to reexamine how issues of race, gender, sexual identity, nationality, disability, and generally—outsider status—are linked to poverty. Contributors have transformed their presentations into essays, offering a variety of roadmaps for incorporating these issues into the law school curriculum, both inside the classroom as well as in clinical and externship settings, study abroad, and social activism. These essays provide glimpses into “teaching moments,” both intentional and organic, to help trigger opportunities for students and faculty to question their own perceptions and experiences about who creates and interprets law, and who has access to power and the force of law. This book expands the parameters of law teaching so that this next generation of attorneys will be dedicated to their roles as public citizens, broadening the availability of justice. Contributors include: John Payton; Richard Delgado; Steven W. Bender; Sarah Valentine; Deborah Post and Deborah Zalesne; Gilbert Paul Carrasco; Michael L. Perlin and Deborah Dorfman; Robin R. Runge; Cynthia D. Bond; Florence Wagman Roisman; Doug Simpson; Anne Marie Harkins and Robin Clark; Douglas Colbert; Raquel Aldana and Leticia Saucedo, Marci Seville; Deirdre Bowen, Daniel Bonilla Maldonado, Kathleen Neal Cleaver, Colin Crawford, and James Forman, Jr.; Susan Rutberg; Mary B. Culbert and Sara Campos; MaryBeth Musumeci, Elizabeth Weeks Leonard, and Brutrinia D. Arellano; Libby Adler; and Paulette J. Williams. The editorial board includes Raquel Aldana, Steven Bender, Olympia Duhart, Michele Benedetto Neitz, Angela Onwuachi-Willig, Hari Osofsky, and Hazel Weiser.

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