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Gender asymmetry in mixed-race heterosexual partnerships and marriages is common. For instance, black men marry or partner with white women at a far higher rate than white men marry or partner with black women.
There are sizeable earnings differentials by both gender and race in the U. It has been proposed in the literature that the effects of gender and race on earnings are additive, so that minority women suffer the full disadvantage of each status.
We test this proposition for a broad range of minority groups in the U. We find that women of all minority groups in the U. Exploring the potential role of racial variation in gender role specialization in producing such differentials, we find some empirical evidence suggesting that white families specialize more than families of most other races. Despite the ificance of this topic and the enormous attention given to gender inequality and racial inequality in the past social science literature, our empirical knowledge of the differences in labor force outcomes by gender and race is surprisingly poor.
Intersectional perspectives argue that the meaning of gender differs across racial groups and the meaning of race differs for men and women.
Intersectionality has made valuable contributions towards understanding the lives of minority women, who do not necessarily experience race in the same way as minority men or gender in the same way as white women Browne and Misra ; McCall Yet few empirical studies on earnings inequality by race and gender have adopted this perspective Brewer, Conrad, and King For an overview of these studies, see Browne and Misra Most existing studies of earnings inequality focus on either racial inequality among men or gender inequality among whites, often overlooking minority women Malveaux Work that does address the earnings of minority women often still fails to consider race and gender tly.
A common research de is to compare minority women either to minority men of the same group e. To overcome this limitation, two alternative practices have emerged in the literature.
The first is to compare all gender-race combinations simultaneously to one reference group, usually white men e. Thus, there would be no intersection of race and gender, and the total disadvantage faced by minority women relative to white men would simply be the sum of the gender penalty and the race penalty. Deborah Kingp. While minority women of most ethnicities are clearly disadvantaged, their earnings are often still higher than one might predict based on their race and gender alone.
Among African Americans, many studies have shown that the earnings of black women are higher relative to those of white women than the earnings of black men relative to those of white men Blau and BellerBlau and Beller ; Cancio, Evans, and Maume ; Carlson and Swartz ; King ; Marini Despite the suggestiveness of these findings, most research on race and gender earnings gaps has not attempted to address the additivity assumption directly.
Even when their empirical show clear deviations from the double jeopardy characterization, researchers frequently pay little attention to the underlying reasons for, and sometimes even fail to comment on, the apparent interactions between race and gender e.
To be sure, there are studies that have explored the interaction effects on earnings between gender and race, focusing on such causal mechanisms as human capital and job characteristics England, Christopher, and Reid ; Kilbourne, England and Beron ; McGuire and Reskinlocal economic structure McCalland trends over time Blau and Beller ; Cotter, Hermsen, and Vanneman For example, McGuire and Reskin consider differences by gender and race in the ability to translate job authority and human capital into earnings.
They find that black women are the most disadvantaged in both respects, but that this disadvantage is less than the sum of the disadvantages faced by white women and black men relative to white men. While contributing valuable evidence about intersectionality in the earnings determination process, none of these earlier studies has made racial variation in the gender earnings gap its explicit focus. Hence, the extent of racial variation in the gender earnings gap remains to be fully documented and understood.
In numerous studies in sociology and economics, the interaction effects between race and gender have often been apparent, but they have been treated more as empirical nuances than as subjects to investigate. This study represents a systematic effort to study racial patterns in the gender earnings gap and draw meaningful theoretical implications from such patterns.
To this end, we make racial variation in the gender earnings gap the explicit focus of our study. Past research has shown that, net of human capital factors, gender differences in earnings are considerably larger than racial differences between whites and blacks Durden and Gaynor ; Farley Does this mean that racial discrimination is smaller than gender discrimination?
To answer this question, we need to conceptualize race and gender differentials not as two indicators of a single underlying phenomenon, but rather as two separate dimensions of inequality, each with unique structural determinants. Gender, by contrast, is fixed at twoand its distribution is relatively unchanging. There is something else unique to gender: Men and women, to a much greater extent than individuals of different races, are frequently part of the same families — through either marriage, cohabitation, having children together, or some combination of these.
The family is fundamental to the structure of gender relations. As has long been recognized in both economics and sociology, an adequate explanation of gender inequality in the labor force therefore requires the researcher to go beyond discrimination and productivity-related attributes i. The family must be considered in studies of gender inequality for several reasons.
First, because resources are typically pooled across family members, gender inequality in earnings is not necessarily reflected in inequality in economic well-being among married or cohabiting adults 1.
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That is, an adult's economic and social position in society is affected not only by how well he or she does in the labor market, but also by whether and to whom he or she is married or partnered. Second, the traditional division of labor within married-couple families has placed responsibility for the domestic work and child care primarily on the wife Brinesgenerating ificant barriers to success in the labor market for married women Budig and England ; Goldin ; Noonan ; Waldfogel Gender roles within the family are thus intimately connected with gender inequality in the workplace. This interplay between family factors and women's labor force outcomes is at the heart of neoclassical economic explanations for women's lower earnings.
While there is a great deal of diversity in modern family structures, the neoclassical explanation primarily focuses on married-couple families with children or on persons who anticipate one day being part of such a family. There are three key components to this explanation. First, it is assumed that economic resources are a family-level utility that is shared equally between the spouses Becker, ; Lundberg and Pollak ; Mincer and Polachek Second, it is assumed that there is an efficiency gain in having one spouse typically the husband specialize in market production, and the other spouse typically the wife specialize in domestic production.
This efficiency gain is the result of the wage rate of the spouse who specializes in the market exceeding that of the other spouse. Thus, neoclassical economics provides a theoretical framework that explicitly links gender inequality at work with gender inequality at home. The theory is silent on issues of race. However, we know that the theory, even if it is true, can only be a crude approximation of a reality that is far more complicated. The problem is that not all families meet the ideal conditions assumed by role specialization theory. First, not all women or men intend to marry or have good prospects to marry.
Similarly, not all married couples have or intend to have children, and in the absence of children the advantages to gender role specialization are substantially reduced. Second, in a growing of families wives earn more than husbands Brines ; Raley et al.
Finally, past research has suggested that the assumption of pooled income and consumption may not be correct, even within married-couple families: at a fixed level of family income, direct expenditures on the well-being of the wife and children are larger if the wife herself has greater control over economic resources Lundberg and Pollak Hence, the extent to which role specialization theory is applicable can vary substantially across families. We give three reasons for this conjecture. For example, researchers have found that African Americans and Mexican Americans both express greater support than whites for the idea that married women should contribute financially to the family Blee and Tickamyer ; Taylor, Tucker, and Mitchell-Kernan — despite the fact that this and other research has repeatedly found that African Americans and some groups of Hispanics tend to express more traditional that is, patriarchal gender role attitudes than whites with respect to other issues, such as women's role in politics or their responsibility for home and family Blee and Tickamyer ; Bolzendahl and Myers ; McLoyd et al.
On the other hand, despite such attitudinal differences, research has also shown that black husbands do a greater share of housework than white husbands do Kamo and Cohen ; John and Shelton Thus, the relationship between race and gender role attitudes and practices is probably quite complex. Such differences are likely to affect men's and women's choices about work and family, including the extent to which they specialize according to traditional gender norms.
The second reason, which is widely recognized in the literature, is the more difficult economic circumstances facing many minority groups. The higher unemployment rates and lower earnings among many groups of minority men undermine the applicability of role specialization theory. Even among married couples in economically disadvantaged minority groups, role specialization may not be an option if the husband does not have sufficient earnings to be the primary, if not the sole, breadwinner for the family Padavic and Reskin Furthermore, higher rates of marital instability in economically disadvantaged minority groups Ruggles would make specialization in domestic production, and the degree of economic dependency it entails, a very risky strategy for a woman Edin ; Smock, Manning, and Gupta There are thus several reasons to suspect that role specialization theory may apply better to middle-class whites than to economically disadvantaged minority groups.
Third, it has been well documented that most Asian American groups actually attain higher average economic status than whites Xie and Goyette However, most Asian Americans are recent immigrants or children of immigrants, and as newcomers to the U. Thus, Asian Americans' family-level strategies for economic adaptation may render role specialization less applicable to Asian Americans than to whites.
We examine gender inequality in earnings across all major racial and ethnic minority groups in the United States, while studies have examined only one or two groups at a time. From the literature, we expect a positive interaction between race and gender for African American women and a few indications of a similar effect for certain groups of Asian American and Hispanic womenbut we do not know whether this pattern may hold for minority groups more generally. We develop a systematic metric to use in measuring the extent to which the effects of race and gender deviate from the assumption of additivity, which allows us to make comparisons between different racial groups.
Second, we devise a summary measure, to be discussed later, that crudely gauges the extent to which gender role specialization varies by race. McCall presents a detailed discussion of the methodological issues confronting researchers who study intersectionality. Our first task is to determine empirically whether there is indeed evidence of intersectionality between race and gender in the labor market. In this case, the earnings ratio of minority women could be inferred from two pieces of information: The female-to-male earnings ratio among whites, and the minority-to-white earnings ratio among males of the same group.
Here, in the absence of an interaction, minority women will have an earnings ratio of. This can be calculated as the product of the earnings ratios of white women and minority men.
To facilitate discussion, we will work with the natural logarithm transformation of earnings. This allows us to discuss the relationship between sex and race in log-additive, rather than multiplicative, terms. The relationship can be stated with reference to the following table. Now let us define the following quantity which is actually the difference-in-difference estimatorwith whites as the reference group:.
This can be derived either from equation 1 or equation 2.
Gender and the neighborhood location of mixed-race couples
In this scenario, the earnings difference between whites and minority group k is the same for men and women, and the earnings difference between men and women is the same for whites and for minority group k. This indicates that there is an additive effect of being minority and being female — minority women suffer the full disadvantage of each status. If the effects of being minority and being female are not additive, there are two possible alternatives.
The first is as follows:. This positive interaction can be interpreted to mean that there is a smaller penalty for being female among minorities, or a smaller penalty for being nonwhite among females. Alternatively, there could be a negative interaction between being minority and being female. In this case, the following equations would hold:. This negative interaction can be interpreted as meaning either that being nonwhite carries a greater penalty for females than males, or being female is a greater disadvantage among minorities than among whites.
literature le us to expect to find that d k is positive for some racial groups, but it is not known how generally this is true. Although we have no theoretical reason to believe that d k may be negative for any group, such a relationship is possible and cannot be ruled out a priori. In addition to the unadjusted d kwe will compute d k after adjusting for earnings-relevant characteristics. These include education, experience, and region. We next examine d k across subpopulations.