Social Inequality, Stratification, and Mobility: The Effects of the Great Recession in India and the United States

Friday, 20 July 2018: 11:00
Oral Presentation
Roberto P KORZENIEWICZ, Department of Sociology, College of Behavioral and Social Sciences, University of Maryland, USA
Omkar JOSHI, University of Maryland, USA
In this paper, we map shifting patterns of inequality, stratification and mobility in India and the United States over the course of the Great Recession. How have various sectors of the population in India (a lower-income country) and the United States (a higher-income country) fared relative to other populations within and between the two countries? To what extent has upward and downward mobility within-and between the two countries resulted in differential but interacting patterns of stratification? Drawing on previous work by the authors, this paper further explores the theoretical premise that inequality, stratification and mobility processes are global in character. To demonstrate the feasibility and utility of such a perspective, we present a new longitudinal and cross-sectional dataset (drawn from nationally-representative household surveys, with household incomes harmonized for both countries) addressing social inequality, stratification and mobility in India and the United States – in effect, a map of where various populations stood and moved within “more national” and “more global” distributions-- over the course of the economic crisis. Our data allow us to conduct a systematic and comparative analysis of changes in occupations, human capital, and earnings across two countries that represent opposite ends of the world income spectrum. More specifically, we use this original dataset to discuss trends in: (1) the extent and direction of change in between- and within-country inequality; (2) changing patterns of occupational stratification (e.g., which occupations, and levels of human capital, make up the global deciles represented in the data? How are changing differentials between and within skilled and unskilled workers linked to globalization?); and (3) changes in the relative access to well-being of various sectors of the populations of India and the United States.