The Situationist

Posts Tagged ‘disparities between groups’

Engines of Inequality: Class, Race, and Family Structure – Abstract

Posted by The Situationist Staff on May 18, 2008

Amy Wax posted her latest manuscript, “Engines of Inequality: Class, Race, and Family Structure” (forthcoming in 41 Family Law Quarterly 567 (2007) on SSRN. Here’s the abstract.

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The past 30 years have witnessed a dramatic divergence in family structure by social class, income, education, and race. This article reviews the data on these trends, explores their significance, and assesses social scientists’ recent attempts to explain them. The article concludes that society-wide changes in economic conditions or social expectations cannot account for these patterns. Rather, for reasons that are poorly understood, cultural disparities have emerged by class and race in attitudes and behaviors surrounding family, sexuality, and reproduction. These disparities will likely fuel social and economic inequality and contribute to disparities in children’s life prospects for decades to come.

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A Critical View of “The Discriminating Mind”

Posted by The Situationist Staff on May 2, 2008

Image by nedrichards - FlickrAmy Wax posted her article, “The Discriminating Mind: Define it, Prove it” (forthcoming 40 Connecticut Law Review (2008)) on SSRN. The abstract is below.

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Differential group achievements in competitive spheres like business, government, and academia, in conjunction with professed organizational commitments to fairness and equal opportunity, fuel claims that unconscious discrimination operates widely in society today. But attempts to blame disparities by race or sex on inadvertent bias must be approached with caution in the current climate. Many allegations concerning unconscious discrimination do not properly allege category-based treatment at all but rather target the disparate impact, or differential effects, of category-neutral criteria. Such impacts often reflect well-documented supply side disparities between groups in human capital development, qualifications, and behavior. These patterns are not most effectively addressed by focusing on unconscious processes, but rather by scrutinizing neutral practices for efficiency and social usefulness and also by attempting to eliminate underlying group differences in the ability to compete for social rewards.

Likewise, allegations of unconsciously motivated disparate treatment, which are based on the contention that race or sex plays a causal role in social outcomes, should be scrutinized for alternative, non-discriminatory explanations for observed disparities, including supply side differences between groups. In addition, some disparities attributed to unconscious bias could just as well be explained by old-fashioned statistical or rational discrimination, which is also fueled by real, average, observable differences in performance by race or sex. In general, sweeping and categorical claims of unconscious discrimination are unwarranted without specific evidence that this process is actually operating in a given case. Such evidence is hard to come by. In many cases, supporting such claims requires excluding alternative explanations – including supply side explanations for observed disparities in group success.

Posted in Abstracts, Implicit Associations, Public Policy | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

 
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