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black-white differential in family trends

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  • Pierre Tremblay
    Greetings! An interesting study that alerts researchers about possible causes for differences between race groups. Pierre A counterfactual approach to the
    Message 1 of 1 , Apr 1 11:59 AM

      An interesting study that alerts researchers about possible causes for differences between 'race'


      A counterfactual approach to the black-white differential in family trends: The effect of a "total
      institution" by Lundquist, Jennifer Michelle Hickes, Ph.D. Dissertation, University of
      Pennsylvania, 2004, 262 pages; AAT 3138023 - ProQuest document ID: 766277991

      Social scientists have noted an increasing divergence in family patterns between US blacks and
      whites, with the former experiencing markedly higher divorce, nonmarital childbearing and
      never-marrying rates. While the causality behind such racial divergence is complex, the current
      political climate tends to downplay economic explanations, emphasizing that differences are
      attributable primarily to individual and group level preferences. This dissertation exploits the
      military context as a unique way to reassess these issues. Most explanations forwarded for race
      differences in society find their counter in the military environment. For minorities, the
      military provides improved economic opportunity and stability. There is also evidence for an
      improved environment extending beyond simply socioeconomic parity, as evidenced by the military's
      comparatively high levels of racial desegregation and interracial marriage. Through a combination
      of event history and propensity score matching analyses using the National Longitudinal Survey of
      Youth, I find that racial differences in family patterns, so prevalent in the civilian population,
      dramatically decrease or disappear. Military blacks and whites are each equally likely to marry.
      Divorce rates are reversed from the civilian pattern. Nonmarital childbearing is substantially
      reduced among blacks in the military relative to their civilian counterparts. In the second part
      of the dissertation I use the Survey of Active Duty Personnel to show how the military moderates
      many of the structural disadvantages of race. Using ordered category logistic regression, I find
      that, compared to military whites, military blacks consider their lives vastly improved from
      civilian life along all of those elements identified as lacking for many black Americans in
      civilian society. This is the case not only in ratings of improved economic conditions and related
      benefits, but also in ratings of overall happiness. The third part of the dissertation explores
      the "social contact hypothesis," comparing veterans with nonveterans in their behaviors and
      opinions related to race. Exploratory analyses using the General Social Survey show an association
      between increased tenure in the military and a pronounced lessening of racially discriminatory
      attitudes among white males. Overall, this dissertation highlights the experimental utility of the
      military environment in reevaluating traditional approaches to race stratification.

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