Combining Descriptive and Causal Methods to Study Inequality
mail: marie [dot] unger [at] wzb [dot] eu
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Christopher Wildeman will show how descriptive methods - especially life tables - and several types of tests for individual-level effects can help us understand consequences of social inequality. These descriptive methods are simple yet underutilized. To illustrate this method, he constructs a life table estimating the cumulative risk of paternal imprisonment for American children and then combines these demographic estimates with point estimates of the effects of paternal imprisonment on children‘s behavioral and mental health problems, as well as their risks of homelessness and infant mortality. By combining these data, it can be shown how far-reaching the consequences of mass imprisonment may be for childhood inequality. This back-of-the-envelope method provides a simple first step through which we can better highlight how much the individual-level effects we test for could shape social inequality.
In this workshop, examples are used from the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study, the Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System, the Project on Human Development in Chicago Neighborhoods, and the Surveys of Inmates in State and Federal Correctional Facilities.
Christopher Wildeman is an assistant professor of sociology, a faculty fellow at the Center for Research on Inequalities and the Life Course (CIQLE), and a resident fellow at the Institution for Social and Policy Studies (ISPS) at Yale University. He received his Ph.D. in Sociology and Demography from Princeton University in 2008.