Long Time Coming: Racial Inequality in the Nonmetropolitan South, 1940-1990

By Mark A. Fossett; M. Therese Seibert | Go to book overview

measures with more attractive qualities (e.g., the index of net difference) are often ignored.

Our discussion here advances a partial conceptualization of inequality measurement and outlines minimum criteria for measures of ordinal and interval inequality. In addition, we have reviewed popular measures and examined their strengths and weaknesses. Perhaps the most important contribution of our work in this chapter is that we are able to link Lieberson's index of net difference, an appealing measure of ordinal-level inequality, to several other well-known measures including the Gini index, the difference in mean percentile scores, and Somers' dyx, a measure of ordinal association whose sampling distribution is well understood. Another contribution we have made here is to show that the simple and familiar (and perhaps for these reasons taken for granted) difference of mean status has much to recommend it as a measure of interval-level inequality.

Based on these conclusions, we rely primarily on two measures of inequality in this study -- the White-Black difference in mean status and the index of net difference computed between the White and Black occupation distributions. The discussion in this chapter shows that both choices are well-justified on methodological grounds. The index of net difference is an attractive measure of ordinal inequality and the difference of mean status is an attractive measure of interval inequality.


Notes

This chapter was authored by Mark Fossett. We express thanks to Jeffrey A. Burr, Cynthia Cready, Omer R. Galle, and Stanley Lieberson for comments on earlier incarnations of this material. In addition to support from the Ford Foundation and the Aspen Institute's Rural Poverty Research Program, the preparation of the material presented in this chapter was also supported by NICHD Grant #HD 16837 and by the American Statistical Association/ National Science Foundation's Census Research Program.

1.
Previous studies of measures of intergroup inequality include Gastwirth ( 1975), Dagum ( 1980), Lieberson ( 1975), Palmore and Whittington ( 1970), and Fossett and South ( 1983).
2.
In some ways our efforts here are patterned after Fossett and South's ( 1983) study of measures of intergroup income inequality. One key

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Long Time Coming: Racial Inequality in the Nonmetropolitan South, 1940-1990
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page v
  • Contents vii
  • Tables and Figures xi
  • Preface xv
  • 1 - Introduction 1
  • Notes 16
  • 2 - Determinants of Racial Inequality in Nonmetropolitan Areas 18
  • Notes 70
  • 3 - Measurement Issues 76
  • Notes 89
  • 4 - Trends in Inequality 91
  • Notes 126
  • 5 - Cross-Sectional Analyses 129
  • Notes 156
  • 6 - Longitudinal Analyses 159
  • Notes 185
  • 7 - Overview and Discussion 187
  • Appendix A - Measuring Inequality 195
  • Notes 224
  • Appendix B - Measuring Inequality with Census Occupation Data 229
  • Notes 246
  • Appendix C - Measures 248
  • Notes 258
  • References 261
  • Index 273
  • About the Book and Authors 285
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