Race, Gender, and Economics

Kevin Lewis

March 06, 2010

Interacting Like a Body: Objectification Can Lead Women to Narrow Their Presence in Social Interactions

Tamar Saguy, Diane Quinn, John Dovidio & Felicia Pratto
Psychological Science, forthcoming

The present experiment tested the impact of sexual objectification on women's behavior in social interactions. We predicted that when objectified, women would narrow their social presence by spending little time talking, particularly when interacting with men. Participants (males and females) gave an oral introduction of themselves to an alleged interaction partner (male or female). Objectification was manipulated by having participants believe their bodies were either visually inspected or not inspected during this introduction. Specifically, participants introduced themselves through a closed-circuit device in one of three conditions: body (videotaped from the neck down), face (videotaped from the neck up), or audio (no videotaping). Women who were in the body condition and thought they were interacting with men spent less time talking than participants in all other groups. In addition, the majority of women disliked the body condition, indicating that they found having their bodies gazed at aversive. Implications for women's behavior in mixed-sex contexts are discussed.


Sexual Priming, Gender Stereotyping, and Likelihood to Sexually Harass: Examining the Cognitive Effects of Playing a Sexually-Explicit Video Game

Mike Yao, Chad Mahood & Daniel Linz
Sex Roles, January 2010, Pages 77-88

The present study examines the short-term cognitive effects of playing a sexually explicit video game with female "objectification" content on male players. Seventy-four male students from a university in California, U.S. participated in a laboratory experiment. They were randomly assigned to play either a sexually-explicit game or one of two control games. Participants' cognitive accessibility to sexual and sexually objectifying thoughts was measured in a lexical decision task. A likelihood-to-sexually-harass scale was also administered. Results show that playing a video game with the theme of female "objectification" may prime thoughts related to sex, encourage men to view women as sex objects, and lead to self-reported tendencies to behave inappropriately towards women in social situations.


The Effects of Gender Stereotypic and Counter-Stereotypic Textbook Images on Science Performance

Jessica Good, Julie Woodzicka & Lylan Wingfield
Journal of Social Psychology, March-April 2010, Pages 132-147

We investigated the effect of gender stereotypic and counter-stereotypic images on male and female high school students' science comprehension and anxiety. We predicted stereotypic images to induce stereotype threat in females and impair science performance. Counter-stereotypic images were predicted to alleviate threat and enhance female performance. Students read one of three chemistry lessons, each containing the same text, with photograph content varied according to stereotype condition. Participants then completed a comprehension test and anxiety measure. Results indicate that female students had higher comprehension after viewing counter-stereotypic images (female scientists) than after viewing stereotypic images (male scientists). Male students had higher comprehension after viewing stereotypic images than after viewing counter-stereotypic images. Implications for alleviating the gender gap in science achievement are discussed.


Just the Thought of It!: Effects of Anticipating Computer-Mediated Communication on Gender Stereotyping

Madeline Heilman, Suzette Caleo & May Ling Halim
Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, forthcoming

A study investigated how anticipated communication mode affects the use of stereotypes in forming impressions and making task assignments. Participants rated male or female targets with whom they envisioned working on a business project using computer-mediated or face-to-face modes of communication. Results indicated that both men and women were characterized more stereotypically when participants anticipated working with them electronically than when they anticipated working with them face-to-face. Furthermore, task assignments were more often gender stereotype consistent when the communication mode was computer-mediated than when it was face-to-face. These findings suggest that the mere anticipation of computer-mediated communication, without the actual the experience of it, is enough to promote stereotypes and biased decision-making.


Last Hired, First Fired? Black-White Unemployment and the Business Cycle

Kenneth Couch & Robert Fairlie
Demography, February 2010, Pages 227-247

Studies have tested the claim that blacks are the last hired during periods of economic growth and the first fired in recessions by examining the movement of relative unemployment rates over the business cycle. Any conclusion drawn from this type of analysis must be viewed as tentative because cyclical movements in the underlying transitions into and out of unemployment are not examined. Using Current Population Survey data matched across adjacent months from 1989-2004, this article provides the first detailed examination of labor market transitions for prime-age black and white men to test the last hired, first fired hypothesis. Considerable evidence is presented that blacks are the first fired as the business cycle weakens. However, no evidence is found that blacks are the last hired. Instead, blacks appear to be initially hired from the ranks of the unemployed early in the business cycle and later are drawn from nonparticipation. The narrowing of the racial unemployment gap near the peak of the business cycle is driven by a reduction in the rate of job loss for blacks rather than increases in hiring.


Beyond the Classroom: Using Title IX to Measure the Return to High School Sports

Betsey Stevenson
NBER Working Paper, February 2010

Between 1972 and 1978 U.S. high schools rapidly increased their female athletic participation rates-to approximately the same level as their male athletic participation rates-in order to comply with Title IX, a policy change that provides a unique quasi-experiment in female athletic participation. This paper examines the causal implications of this expansion in female sports participation by using variation in the level of boys' athletic participation across states before Title IX to instrument for the change in girls' athletic participation. Analysis of differences in outcomes across states in changes between pre- and post-cohorts reveals that a 10-percentage point rise in state-level female sports participation generates a 1 percentage point increase in female college attendance and a 1 to 2 percentage point rise in female labor force participation. Furthermore, greater opportunities to play sports leads to greater female participation in previously male-dominated occupations, particularly in high-skill occupations.


The Danger in Sexism: The Links Among Fear of Crime, Benevolent Sexism, and Well-being

Julie Phelan, Diana Sanchez & Tara Broccoli
Sex Roles, January 2010, Pages 35-47

In two studies utilizing undergraduate students at a large public university in the Northeastern U.S., we examined how fear of crime negatively impacts psychological well-being and gender relations. In Study 1, students (N  = 216, 105 female) who indicated higher levels of fear of crime also indicated greater endorsement of benevolent sexism (but not hostile sexism) as well as higher levels of behavioral inhibition and lower self-esteem. In Study 2, fear of crime was manipulated and participants (N = 115, 73 female) in the crime condition indicated greater endorsement of benevolent sexism, greater behavioral inhibition and lower self-esteem, as compared to participants in a control condition. The implications of the findings for gender relations and psychological well-being are discussed.


Selection Wages and Discrimination

Ekkehart Schlicht
Economics E-Journal, February 2010

Applicants for any given job are more or less suited to fill it, and the firm will select the best among them. Increasing the wage offer attracts more applicants and makes it possible to raise the hiring standard, thereby improving the productivity of the staff. Wages that optimize on the trade-off between the wage level and the productivity of the workforce are known as selection wages. As men react more strongly to wage differentials than females, the trade-off is more pronounced for men and a profit-maximizing firm will offer a higher wage for men than for women in equilibrium. The argument is not confined to issues of sex discrimination; rather it is of relevance for all labor markets where labor heterogeneity is important and supply elasticities vary systematically across occupations.


Does an Immigrant Background Ameliorate Racial Disadvantage? The Socioeconomic Attainments of Second-Generation African Americans

Arthur Sakamoto, Hyeyoung Woo & ChangHwan Kim
Sociological Forum, March 2010, Pages 123-146

Although there is a growing literature on the socioeconomic circumstances of the second generation, this issue has not been systematically considered for African Americans. To help fill this research gap, we investigate the extent to which the socioeconomic attainments of second-generation African Americans differ from mainstream (i.e., third and higher generation) African Americans. Using data from the Current Population Survey and the 2000 Census, our results indicate that the schooling and wages of second-generation African Americans consistently exceed those of third- and higher generation African Americans. Our findings also reveal that second-generation African Americans do at least as well as whites in terms of years of schooling, but wage differentials differ significantly by gender. Second-generation African-American women earn wages that are at least as high as comparable white women, but second-generation African-American men earn wages that are, on average, about 16% less than measurably comparable white men. While no one theoretical perspective can account for all these results, they nonetheless indicate the continuing significance of racial disadvantage for African-American men, including those with an immigrant background.


Black Canadians and black Americans: Racial income inequality in comparative perspective

Paul Attewell, Philip Kasinitz & Kathleen Dunn
Ethnic and Racial Studies, March 2010, Pages 473-495

Using census data, we compare the economic status of blacks and whites in two neighbouring countries - the USA and Canada - examining the effects of international migration of people of colour upon systems of racial hierarchy. At first impression, the racial income gap is markedly smaller in Canada than in the USA. However, this is largely due to the relative sizes of first-, second- and third-plus-generation immigrants in each country. Once this is taken into account, we find that racial income and wage gaps are quite similar in the two countries, raising the puzzle of why nations with such divergent institutional histories produce similar levels of racial inequality.


African American Men and the Experience of Employment Discrimination

Sherry Mong & Vincent Roscigno
Qualitative Sociology, March 2010, Pages 1-21

The economic marginalization of African American men has been studied in a variety of contexts, from trade union exclusion, to joblessness, to disparate wages and mobility. Discrimination is often inferred as an influential mechanism, yet seldom directly examined in its own right. Drawing on a unique sample of verified workplace discrimination cases, this article analyzes forms and processes of discrimination that African American men face in employment. Our results denote the prevalence of discriminatory firing, with on-going racial harassment and discriminatory promotional and hiring practices also quite evident. In-depth immersion into case materials highlights the centrality of racial stereotyping and significant discretion on the part of gatekeepers within organizational environments-discretion in the use of "soft skills" criteria to exclude and debilitate mobility, and in selective (or even targeted) use of seemingly neutral organizational policies and sanctions. Moreover, harassment on the job - something that conventional workplace inequality research has overlooked-is quite problematic and well-represented in these data. We conclude by discussing the implications of our results for the conceptualization of inequality reproduction and that pertaining to race, status, and the workplace in particular.


Deracialization and Latino Politics: The Case of the Salazar Brothers in Colorado

Eric Gonzalez Juenke & Anna Christina Sampaio
Political Research Quarterly, March 2010, Pages 43-54

Deracialization literature has a rich history, but it has generally focused on local-level black candidates in nonpartisan environments. This article extends the deracialization literature to a competitive statewide context and focuses on Latino candidates, offering a broader partisan environment where established deracialization theory and voter response are tested at the individual level. Both John Salazar's and Ken Salazar's successful 2004 campaigns for national office are explored using qualitative and quantitative data. The combined approaches yield evidence that Latinos in competitive partisan environments are influenced to deracialize their campaigns and that conservative non-Latino voters are positively and significantly influenced by these nonracial messages.

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