Social Policy

A Room of One’s Own or A Room with a View? Housing and Educational Stratification

A Room of One’s Own or A Room with a View? Housing and Educational Stratification
Sociological Forum. 2001, Vol. 16(2), pp. 263-280.

Conley, D.
01/01/2001

This study attempts to understand the role that housing plays in the system of social stratification. First, it generates a model of how housing outcomes are stratified along dimensions of socioeconomic status and race. Second, it asks what role housing conditions play in the system of educational stratification of offspring. Using two-generational data from the Panel Study of Income Dynamics, this paper demonstrates that home ownership is predicted by family income and race and that this indicator has a significant effect in predicting the educational attainment of offspring. Household crowding is also related to income and race and also affects the educational attainment of offspring. Meanwhile, housing quality—as measured by the physical condition of the unit—is not related to income or race and has no effect on educational attainment. Of particular note is that when socioeconomic status and housing conditions are held constant, African-Americans demonstrate more than a half-grade advantage over their non-black counterparts in years of completed schooling. In conclusion, the paper argues that housing matters not only for the immediate well-being of families, but also for the life-chances of the subsequent generation, and should be a standard variable in the conception of class background.

Birth Weight and Income: Interactions Across Generations

Birth Weight and Income: Interactions Across Generations
Journal of Health and Social Behavior. 2001, Vol. 42, pp. 450-465.

Conley, D. & Bennett, N.
01/01/2001

This paper attempts to answer a series of questions regarding the interaction of income and birth weight across generations. First, does the effect of the income of a mother during her pregnancy on her infant's birth weight depend on the family's birth weight history (genetic predisposition)? Second, does the effect of low birth weight status on adult life chances depend on income during early childhood? These questions have implications for the way we envision the biological and social worlds as interacting across generations. To address these issues, this study uses intergenerational data from the Panel Study of Income Dynamics, survey years 1968 through 1992. Results of sibling comparisons (family-fixed-effects models) demonstrate that maternal income has a significant impact on birth weight for those infants who are already at high risk hereditarily (i.e., who have a low birth weight parent). However, it is not clear whether income acts as a developmental buffer for low birth weight infants as their lives progress. These findings suggest the existence of biosocial interactions between hereditary predisposition and socio-economic environment.

Leadership (Re)constructed: How Lens Matters

Leadership (Re)constructed: How Lens Matters
November

Ospina, S. & Schall, E.
01/01/2001

This paper develops a view of leadership as a social construct, as something that is created through dialogue among groups of people in a particular context. Different contexts allow us to see how leadership emerges in action. We further develop the idea that leadership is relational to highlight its social and collective nature and to stress the importance of studying leadership in context. The way people make meaning of leadership is an important focus, so it becomes necessary to understand the "knowledge principle," or dominant ideas that inform the work of leadership, as well. This approach contributes to the development of the body of literature that views leadership as a collective achievement, not something that belongs to an individual. Not only does this approach hold promise to provide interesting new insights to enrich leadership theory, it allows for the opportunity to produce new knowledge that is useful to practitioners, thereby enhancing existing leadership and inspiring new leadership to emerge.

Microenterprise Development for Better Health Outcomes

Microenterprise Development for Better Health Outcomes
Westport, CT: Greenwood Publishing.

Rodriguez-Garcia, R., Macinko, J. & Waters, W.
01/01/2001

Showing that economic development and public health, often thought of as distinct, are both interdependent and dependent on social and political conditions, this book provides a new appreciation of the close relationship between microenterprise development and health in developing countries. Many of the world's poor earn a living from microenterprises, often outside the formal economy, and international practitioners have recently turned their attention to this underground economy, providing support through group poverty lending and village banking models, but overlooking the potential benefits of linking income generation with public health. This book argues for a conceptual and practical relationship between microenterprise development and household health, nutrition, and sanitation. To support their framework, the authors look at specific actions for harnessing the power of microeconomic development to improve health and human development. They support their argument further with case studies of innovative programs carried out in Latin America, Asia, and Africa. The book challenges the reader to cross disciplinary and professional boundaries to not only understand the interrelationships between health and income generation but to use available tools to enhance those interrelationships.

The utility of social capital in studies on health determinants

The utility of social capital in studies on health determinants
Milbank Quarterly Volume 79, Number 3, pages 387-428.

Macinko, J. & Starfield, B.
01/01/2001

Social capital has become a popular subject in the literature on determinants of health. The concept of social capital has been used in the sociological, political science, and economic development literatures, as well as in the health inequalities literature. Analysis of its use in the health inequalities literature suggests that each theoretical tradition has conceptualized social capital differently. Health researchers have employed a wide range of social capital measures, borrowing from several theoretical traditions. Given the wide variation in these measures and an apparent lack of consistent theoretical or empirical justification for their use, conclusions about the likely role of "social capital" on population health may be overstated or even misleading. Elements of a research agenda are proposed to further elucidate the potential role of factors currently subsumed under the rubric of "social capital."

The Welfare State and Infant Mortality

The Welfare State and Infant Mortality
American Journal of Sociology. November, Vol. 106.

Conley, D. & Springer, K.
01/01/2001

This article seeks to understand the effects of welfare-state spending on infant mortality rates. Infant mortality was chosen for its importance as a social indicator and its putative sensitivity to state action over a short time span. Country fixed-effects models are used to determine that public health spending does have a significant impact in lowering infant mortality rates, net of other factors, such as economic development, and that this effect is cumulative over a five-year time span. A net effect of health spending is also found, even when controlling for the level of spending in the year after which the outcome is measured (to account for spurious effects or reverse causation). State spending affects infant mortality both through social mechanisms and through medical ones. This article also shows that the impact of state spending may vary by the institutional structure of the welfare state. Finally, this study tests for structural breaks in the relationship between health spending and infant mortality and finds none over this time period.

Universal Freckle

Universal Freckle
lead chapter in The Making and Unmaking of Whiteness,Durham, NC: Duke University Press, *Peer reviewed. Reprinted in Privilege (edited by Michael S. Kimmel) ABC-Clio Press.

Conley, D., Klinenberg, E., Nexica, I., Rasmussen, B.B., Sandell, J. & Matt Wray, (Eds.).
01/01/2001

Bringing together new articles and essays from the controversial Berkeley conference of the same name, "The Making and Unmaking of Whiteness" presents a fascinating range of inquiry into the nature of whiteness. Representing academics, independent scholars, community organizers, and antiracist activists, the contributors are all leaders in the "second wave" of whiteness studies who collectively aim to combat the historical legacies of white supremacy and to inform those who seek to understand the changing nature of white identity, both in the United States and abroad. The editors not only raise provocative questions about the intellectual, social, and political goals of those interested in the study of whiteness but assess several of the topic's major recurrent themes: the visibility of whiteness (or the lack thereof); the "emptiness" of whiteness as a category of identification; and conceptions of whiteness as a structural privilege, a harbinger of violence, or an institutionalization of European imperialism.

Urban Health: Is the City Infected?

Urban Health: Is the City Infected?
Medicine and Humanity. London: King's Fund,

Rodwin, V.G.
01/01/2001

The city is, at once, a center for disease and poor health and also a place for hope, cures and good health. From the earliest times, the city has attracted the poor and been the target of the plague, as well as war. Likewise, the health care industry has always been part of the economic base of cities - from Lourdes, in France, to Rochester, Minnesota, to megacities around the world. With its highly disproportionate share of health resources, e.g., hospitals, physicians, nurses and social services, the big city is a center of excellence in medicine. Yet, as Richard Horton, editor of The Lancet once noted, "For all of its rational efficiency and benevolent intent, the city is likely to be the death of us." Are cities socially infected breeding grounds for disease? Or do they represent critical spatial entities for promotion of population health? I propose to begin with a global view of urban health and disease and the challenge this poses for public health today. Next, I examine some evidence for the hypothesis that population health in cities is relatively poor. Finally, I suggest that the more pertinent question is not whether the city is unhealthy or healthy but rather the extent to which we can alleviate the problems posed by inequalities of income and wealth - in the city as well as outside of it.

Wealth and Poverty in America: A Reader

Wealth and Poverty in America: A Reader
(Edited, with an Introduction) Oxford: Blackwell,

Conley, D.
01/01/2001

What does it mean to be poor in America at the dawn of the 21 st century? For that matter, what does it mean to be rich? And how are the two related to each other? These apparently simple questions present enormous theoretical and empirical challenges to any student or social scientist. Wealth and Poverty in America is a collection of over 20 important essays on the complex relationship between the rich and poor in the United States. The authors include classical and contemporary thinkers on a wide variety of topics such as economic systems, the lifestyles of the rich and poor, and public policy. An editorial introduction and suggestions for further reading make this a useful and valuable source of information and analysis on the realities of the American rich and American poor.

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