Payoffs to power among males in the middle class: Has race declined in its significance?

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


This article specifies the parameters of William Wilson's declining significance of race thesis and within the context of the debate about it uses data from the Panel Study of Income Dynamics to examine racial differences among a cohort of males in the earnings returns to two separate dimensions of job authority in middle-class jobs between 1976 and 1985. Findings do not support the Wilson thesis. Specifically, the gap in returns has increased for both authority dimensions over the approximately ten-year period. In addition, the racial gap is greater at higher than at lower hierarchical levels across both authority dimensions. Specific employment practices that explain the increase in the earnings gap over the work-career are identified and the overall implications of the findings for the Wilson thesis are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)607-622
Number of pages16
JournalSociological Quarterly
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jan 1 1997

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science


Dive into the research topics of 'Payoffs to power among males in the middle class: Has race declined in its significance?'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this