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Intersectional InequalityRace, Class, Test Scores, and Poverty$
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Charles C. Ragin and Peer C. Fiss

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780226414379

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: September 2017

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226414546.001.0001

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Test Scores, Parental Income, and Poverty

Test Scores, Parental Income, and Poverty

(p.80) Five Test Scores, Parental Income, and Poverty
Intersectional Inequality

Charles C. Ragin

Peer C. Fiss

University of Chicago Press

The Bell Curve focuses on the competition between two independent variables, family background and test scores. Chapter 5 addresses the Bell Curve directly, assessing the set-theoretic connections between family background--especially parental income--and test scores, on the one hand, and poverty, on the other. Our results reveal a distinct pattern of racial confounding that is hidden in conventional analyses, namely a strong connection between advantages and avoiding poverty for whites and a strong connection between disadvantages and experiencing poverty for blacks. Specifically, we document very strong connections for white males and white females between not-low-income-parents and not-low-test-scores, on the one hand, and avoiding poverty, on the other. These same connections for blacks are much weaker. However, blacks exhibit a strong shared-antecedent connection between not-high-income-parents and not-high-test-scores, on the one hand, and experiencing poverty, on the other. Our findings are thus fundamentally different from the insights offered in the Bell Curve, suggesting a clear pattern of racial differences in the connection between family background and poverty.

Keywords:   shared outcomes, shared antecedents, set-theoretic consistency, asymmetry, set-theoretic coverage, multiple calibration, test scores, parental income, collinearity, set coincidence, poverty

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