University of Wisconsin–Madison

Works in Progress

Under Review

Doren, Catherine and Katherine Y. Lin. “Diverging Trajectories or Parallel Pathways? A Life Course Approach to the Gender Earnings Gap by Race and Education.” (Revised and Resubmitted to Social Forces.)

Despite increases in gender equality in the United States, an earnings gap persists. Yet gender inequality is more complex than a single point-in-time estimate of the earnings gap; there are important differences by age, education, and race. Guided by life course and intersectional perspectives, we advance scholarship on gender inequality in the labor market by exploring how trajectories of gender inequality vary across race and education. By integrating ideas about intersectionality with life course theories, we uncover whether multiple forms of inequality are maintained, exacerbated, or undone over the life course. We use data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1979 cohort to estimate growth curve models of annual earnings, paying attention to differences by race and education in the levels and slopes of men and women’s earnings from ages 22 to 47. Our findings indicate that racially- and educationally-advantaged groups see the greatest gender earnings divergence across life, supporting theories of cumulative advantage and intersectionality.These findings lay a foundation for future research on the multiple mechanisms underpinning persistent gender inequality.

Conwell, Jordan A. and Catherine Doren. “Racial Stratification in the Second Demographic Transition and Its Implications for Child Development.” (Under Review at Social Problems.)

Drawing on a Du Boisian motivation for the study of Black families, Black children, and the comparative analysis of the social class structures among Blacks and Whites, we investigate whether Black and White women who have attained the same level of education have different family formation patterns on a range of outcomes related to the Second Demographic Transition (SDT). We also assess whether such differences are related to racial gaps, within maternal education groups, in children’s development outcomes. We use data on mothers and children from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study, Kindergarten Class of 2010-11. We find that, within each education group (less than high school, high school, some college, bachelor’s degree or higher), Black women often have significantly different family formation patterns than their White peers: on average, they have earlier ages at childbirth, are less likely to be married at childbirth and to be part of two-parent households by the time those children begin kindergarten, and their households include higher numbers of children under age 18. When we control for a small set of these measures, we fully account for significant Black-White gaps (by mother’s race) in school-entry reading achievement within maternal education groups and find a net Black advantage among children of the highest-educated mothers. Our study demonstrates that there has been racial stratification in the benefits and penalties associated with the SDT and that this variation may help perpetuate multigenerational racial inequality within socioeconomic status groups.


In Preparation

Doren, Catherine. “Do Some Mothers Pay a Higher Price? Variation in Motherhood Wage Penalties by Education, Parity, and Fertility Timing.”

Grodsky, Eric, Catherine Doren, Chandra Muller, and John Robert Warren. “Coming in to Focus: Education and Stratification at Midlife.”