Geoffrey T. Wodtke

Sociology

Navigation Menu

Does moving poor people work?

Does moving poor people work?

Original Article – The New York Times | Does Moving Poor People Work? Thomas B. Edsall Contributing Op-ed Writer Published at 12:01AM, September 16 2015   Twenty years ago, federal poverty experts, inspired by the forceful arguments in the landmark book “The Truly Disadvantaged,” as well as by definitive research on the harmful effects of segregation, initiated a government experiment that moved 855 low-income predominantly African-American and Hispanic families out of public housing in poverty-stricken urban areas into less impoverished neighborhoods. The results of the project have provoked an intense debate. Under the aegis of the “Moving to Opportunity” program, begun during the first administration of Bill Clinton, the Department of Housing and Urban Development randomly selected a large pool of low-income families with children living in public housing in Baltimore, Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles and New York. Ninety-eight percent of the families were headed by women; 63 percent were black, 32 percent Hispanic, and 3 percent white; 26 percent were employed, 76 percent were receiving welfare, and families had an average income of $12,709 in 2009 dollars. These families, 4604 of them, to be exact, were then divided into three groups. An experimental group of 1,819 families was offered “Section 8 rental assistance certificates or vouchers that they could use only in census tracts with 1990 poverty rates below 10 percent”; 855 accepted the offer and became part of the study. A second group of 1,346 families was offered more traditional “Section 8” rent subsidy vouchers that could be used in anyneighborhood; 848 accepted. A control group composed of 1,439 families stayed in public housing and became part of the study. The purpose of the relocation initiative, according to Department of Housing and Urban Development, was to test the “long-term effects of access to low-poverty neighborhoods on the housing, employment and educational achievements of the assisted households.” Researchers also studied how relocation affected the health of those who accepted vouchers. A paper published in the May 2013 issue of the American Economic Review, “Long-Term Neighborhood Effects on Low-Income Families: Evidence From Moving to Opportunity,” found that after 10 to 15 years, moving out of high-poverty public housing through the M.T.O. program showed mixed results. There were...

Read More

How clever people hide their racist views

How clever people hide their racist views

Original Article – The Times of London | How clever people hide their racist views Hannah Devlin Science Editor Published at 12:01AM, August 12 2013   Intelligent people are just as likely to hold racist views as less intelligent people, but are better at concealing their prejudices, a study suggests. While those with higher cognitive scores tend to be supportive of racial equality in principle, they were just as likely as less intelligent peers to oppose policies aimed at tackling prejudice, the research found. The authors said that the mismatch could be because smarter people were less likely to admit to views that are considered socially unacceptable. Another explanation could be that while they see equality as an ideal, it is not one that they would be prepared to make social or financial sacrifices for. The study was based on surveys of the l attitudes of more than 20,000 white Americans. Geoffrey Wodtke, a sociologist at the University of Michigan who presented the research to the American Sociological Association in New York, said: “There’s a disconnect between the attitudes intelligent whites support in principle and their attitudes toward policies designed to realise racial equality in practice.” The findings come after a number of distinguished academics have been accused of expressing prejudiced views in recent years. David Starkey, the British historian, was widely criticised after linking “black culture” with criminality after the London riots of 2011, while on Friday Richard Dawkins, the atheist, was accused of bigotry after marking Eid by tweeting: “All the world’s Muslims have fewer Nobel Prizes than Trinity College, Cambridge. They did great things in the Middle Ages, though.” Professor Dawkins later said that he was simply noting an “intriguing...

Read More

Education doesn’t increase support for affirmative action

Original Article – PsyPost | Education doesn’t increase support for affirmative action Highly educated whites and minorities are no more likely to support workplace affirmative action programs than are their less educated peers, according to a new study in the March issue of Social Psychology Quarterly, which casts some doubt on the view that an advanced education is profoundly transformative when it comes to racial attitudes. “I think this study is important because there’s a common view that education is uniformly liberalizing, and this study shows—in a number of cases—that it’s not,” said study author Geoffrey T. Wodtke, a doctoral student in the Department of Sociology at the University of Michigan. Titled, “The Impact of Education on Intergroup Attitudes: A Multiracial Analysis,” the study analyzes the effects of education on racial attitudes among whites, blacks, Hispanics, and Asians using data from the Multi-City Study of Urban Inequality 1992-1994, which interviewed adults in Boston, Atlanta, Detroit, and Los Angeles, and the 1990-2010 waves of the nationally representative General Social Survey. Wodtke’s study finds that while being better educated does not increase the likelihood that whites and minorities approve of affirmative action in the workplace, it does increase the probability that they support race-targeted job training. “The distinction between those two policies is that one is opportunity enhancing and the other is outcome equalizing,” Wodtke said. “I think that some of the values that are promoted through education, such as individualism and meritocracy, are just much more consistent with opportunity enhancing policies like job training than they are with redistributive or outcome equalizing policies like affirmative action.” Still, Wodtke, a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellow, said he was surprised to find that better educated blacks and Hispanics are no more supportive of workplace affirmative action programs than are their less educated peers. “This surprised me because it’s thought that highly educated minorities are most likely to benefit from affirmative action programs,” he said. According to Wodtke, there could be a couple of reasons why more educated blacks and Hispanics are no more likely to support affirmative action in the workplace than are their less educated peers. “One possibility is that affirmative action...

Read More

Study: More Education May Not Lead to Support For Affirmative Action

Study: More Education May Not Lead to Support For Affirmative Action

Original Article – Education Week | Study: More Education May Not Lead to Support For Affirmative Action   By Sarah D. Sparks on February 22, 2012 10:35 AM   From guest blogger Jaclyn Zubrzycki Just as race-based affirmative action in higher education is set to make another appearance in the U.S. Supreme Court, new research from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor’s Geoffrey T. Wodtke suggests, among other things, that highly educated people are not more likely than the less educated to support racial preference policies like affirmative action. The research, which appears in Social Psychology Quarterly, is one of the first studies to look at the racial attitudes of adult Latinos, blacks, and Asians as well as whites. Mr. Wodtke analyzes the relationship between educational attainment and racial attitudes, using data from Emory University’s Multi-City Study of Urban Inequality and the University of Chicago’s General Social Survey to determine various groups’ attitudes about stereotypes, discrimination, and policies. He places his findings in the context of a literature that indicates that education generally has a liberalizing effect, but has not often addressed the attitudes of groups other than whites. The report finds that more-educated whites, Hispanics, and blacks are more likely to reject negative racial stereotypes than their less-educated peers — but that doesn’t seem to be true of well-educated Asians. And while highly educated members of all groups are more likely to perceive discrimination against minorities, they are not more likely to support racial preference like affirmative action. Education level does seem to correspond with increased support for race-targeted, job-training programs. The data in this report don’t include explanations for any group’s attitudes. Wodtke suggests that highly educated minorities who may have actually participated in affirmative-action programs may be more aware of the downsides, such as the “stigma of incompetence,” that can come when minorities are assumed to have been hired as a result of affirmative action. He also writes that the fact that people are more likely to support job-training programs than preference programs may reflect “individualistic and meritocratic ideals.” The report ends with some strong language:  “…The results of this analysis suggest that an advanced education is not particularly enlightening or empowering for any group with respect for...

Read More

Poor Neighborhoods Mean Fewer High School Grads

Poor Neighborhoods Mean Fewer High School Grads

Original Article – Pacific Standard | Poor Neighborhoods Mean Fewer High School Grads October 20, 2011 • By Melinda Burns • 2 Comments   “There’s a lot of talk about how we live in a post-racial society, but that certainly isn’t true,” says Geoffrey Wodtke, a sociologist at the University of Michigan who studies the effects of growing up in the bad part of town.   He and two other researchers tracked 2,100 children from age 1 to age 17, and they report that children growing up in neighborhoods with high levels of poverty and unemployment are much less likely to graduate from high school. While the results may seem expected, much of the previous research in the field had taken only snapshot measurements of such “neighborhood effects,” coming up with small or no impacts on academic performance. Black children, the new study shows, are seven times more likely than other children to grow up in the worst neighborhoods in the country. If they are stuck in the poorest neighborhoods from age 1 to 17, only 76 percent will graduate by age 20, compared to 96 percent of black children in affluent neighborhoods. Of course, you don’t have to be black to suffer from bad surroundings. Among non-black youth, 87 percent graduate from high school if they grow up in the poorest neighborhoods, compared to 95 percent from affluent neighborhoods. The longer children spend in bad neighborhoods, the worse their chances of graduating from high school, the researchers found. “Our results indicate that sustained exposure to disadvantaged neighborhoods — characterized by high poverty, unemployment, and welfare receipt; many female-headed households; and few well-educated adults — throughout the entire childhood life course has a devastating impact on the changes of graduating from high school,” they wrote in the American Sociological Review. The study by Wodtke and sociologists David Harding at the University of Michigan andFelix Elwert at the University of Wisconsin is the first to track the quality of children’s neighborhoods every year throughout their entire childhood and adolescence. Wodtke and his colleagues drew on a University of Michigan database that tracked parental employment, income, marital status, education, and family size for the children from 1968 on. They dug up annual information...

Read More

Growing Up in Poor Neighborhoods Can Have a ‘Devastating’ Impact

Growing Up in Poor Neighborhoods Can Have a ‘Devastating’ Impact

Original Article – The Atlantic Cities | Growing Up in Poor Neighborhoods Can Have a ‘Devastating’ Impact Poor neighborhoods have long been assumed to have a negative impact on the children who grow up there – on their future job prospects, their educational attainment, even their likelihood as adults of moving out of “bad neighborhoods” and into more prosperous ones. A new study, published in the October issue of the American Sociological Review, puts some disturbing data behind this phenomenon. Growing up in the most disadvantaged neighborhoods, the researchers found, significantly reduces a child’s chances of graduating from high school. Even more concerning: The longer a child lives in such a neighborhood, the more harmful the effect. And this was more pronounced for black children: their chances of graduating if they live in an affluent neighborhood can be as high as 96 percent, but drops to 76 percent if they live in a disadvantaged neighborhood. White children in poor neighborhoods, by contrast, have an 87 percent chance to graduate, compared to 95 percent in rich neighborhoods.  The researchers, Geoffrey Wodtke and David Harding of the University of Michigan and Felix Elwert of the University of Wisconsin, sought to measure the “full impact of a lifetime of neighborhood disadvantage.” They based their findings on longitudinal data following more than 4,000 children from age 1 through age 17. They defined disadvantaged neighborhoods as those with high poverty, unemployment and welfare caseloads, as well as high numbers of households headed by single mothers and few well-educated adults. The results suggest that such neighborhoods may have an even more profound impact on the lasting educational success of children than has been previously measured, and that where a child grows up may even impact his or her long-term cognitive development, well after he or she moves out of the neighborhood. Keywords: Children, Poverty Emily Badger is a staff writer at The Atlantic Cities. Her work has previously appeared in Pacific Standard, GOOD, The Christian Science Monitor, and The New York Times. She lives in the Washington, D.C. area. All posts...

Read More