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Stratification and Intersectionality

Paper Session

Saturday, Jan. 5, 2019 8:00 AM - 10:00 AM

Hyatt Regency Atlanta, Hanover A
Hosted By: UNION FOR RADICAL POLITICAL ECONOMICS & International Association for Feminist Economics
  • Chair: Lee Badgett, University of Massachusetts-Amherst

Returns in the Labor Market: A Nuanced View of Penalties at the Intersection of Race and Gender

Mark Paul
New College of Florida
Khaing Zaw
Duke University
Darrick Hamilton
New School for Social Research
William A. Darity
Duke University


There have been decades of research on wage gaps for groups based on their socially salient identities
such as race and gender, but little empirical investigation on the effects of holding multiple identities.
Using the Current Population Survey, we provide new evidence on intersectionality and the wage gap.
This paper makes two important contributions. First, we find that there is no single “gender” or “race”
wage penalty. Second, we present evidence that holding multiple identities cannot readily be
disaggregated in an additive fashion. Instead, the penalties associated with the combination of two or
more socially marginalized identities interact in multiplicative or quantitatively nuanced ways.

Are There Macroeconomic Costs to Racial Inequality in the United States?

Stephanie Seguino
University of Vermont
Nancy Brooks
Cornell University


Increasing household income inequality has attracted the attention of scholars and policymakers alike, with a growing body of research pointing to its economic and social costs. At the global level, findings on the macro-level effects of a particular type of intergroup disparity—gender inequality—are quite robust. In the US, racial inequality is particularly salient. However, a significant lacuna exists in our understanding of its societal costs. This paper seeks to fill that gap by empirically exploring the following question: Does intergroup inequality by race have measurable economy-wide effects on growth of gross state product (GSP) from 1980 to 2010? More specifically, this paper examines the data to determine the extent to which racial inequality (and its intersection with gender) in education, labor market outcomes, and wealth explain variations in growth rates of per capita GSP and/or real income. Given the limitations of GSP and income in measuring well-being, we also explore how racial inequality impacts other state-level measures of well-being, such as average life expectancy, infant mortality, and subjective well-being. We focus on Black-White disparities, due to limited time series data on other racial/ethnic groups. A main methodological goal of this analysis is to determine whether the effects of racial inequality differ between income-based and broader well-being measures. Fixed effects, random effects, three-stage least squares (3SLS), and Generalized Method of Moments (GMM) techniques will be used. The latter two methods will be necessary since gender and racial inequality are not necessarily exogenous.

Intersectionality and Suicide Over the Business Cycle

Thomas Briggs
Colorado State University


Recent trends in mortality statistics have warranted further investigation into the impact of business cycle fluctuations on mortality rates. In particular, suicide mortality has demonstrated asymmetries over the business cycle when analyzing population subgroups. This paper examines the impact of business cycle fluctuations at the state level for non-Hispanic black and non-Hispanic white males and females during the Great Recession. Methods A state level analysis was performed on the suicide rate for the years 2005-2012. Three time periods were created that indicate specific levels of the unemployment rate during the business cycle. CDC National mortality data were used as the suicide data source. National, publicly available databases were used to access information about social and economic indicators. The economic indicator used in this study was the unemployment rate for the non-institutionalized civilian population aged 16-64. Results The association of economic fluctuations and suicide varies greatly between blacks and whites in the United States. In general, suicide rates for African American men were lower during times of recession compared to times of economic growth. This pattern contrasts with suicide rates for Caucasian men, which demonstrated an increase over the same period. Conclusions Findings point to the importance of conducting analyses and developing theory of social and economic factors and suicide by intersectionalities of gender and ethnicity. They also challenge the theory that suicide vulnerability is universally higher under conditions of economic adversity.
Bryanna Dixon
Colorado State University
JEL Classifications
  • J1 - Demographic Economics
  • Z1 - Cultural Economics; Economic Sociology; Economic Anthropology