Going down? Race and downward occupational mobility for white-collar workers in the 1990s

Debra Branch McBrier, George Wilson

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

64 Scopus citations


In the 1990s "new" economy, was downward mobility from high-level white-collar occupations related to race, and if so, what factors explain this relationship ? We use Panel Study of Income Dynamics data to explore the effect of race on the incidence and process of downward occupational mobility during the 1990s. Findings indicate that, relative to White workers, African Americans suffered a higher incidence of downward occupational mobility, especially to blue-collar destinations, and the process by which African Americans fell down the occupational queue was less strongly predicted by traditional causal factors such as supply-side characteristics and job/labor market characteristics.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)283-322
Number of pages40
JournalWork and Occupations
Issue number3
StatePublished - Aug 1 2004



  • Downward mobility
  • Race
  • While-collar occupations

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management

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