University of Maryland
Sociology 441: Stratification 

De-industrialization as a cause of growing inequality

Evidence: time trends

Danziger and Gottschalk claim (incorrectly) that the de-industrialization trend data support the theory. On the bottom of page 137, they say "This hypothesis is consistent with the data." But is it? Look at the time trends for the last half century.

As employment in manufacturing has declined, employment in the service sector has grown. The decline in manufacturing might help explain the growing inequality in the last quarter of the century (as Danziger and Gottschalk claim). But the problem is that manufacturing has been declining since the mid 1950s and inequality didn't start growing until the mid 1970s. If de-industrialization is such a strong cause of inequality, the growth in inequality should have begun twenty years earlier. It didn't. So there is no support for the de-industrialization theory in the economic trends.

Time trends are one of our main tools to evaluate causal theories about stratification systems. See the discussion.

return to: Sociology 441 home page Sociology 441 schedule list of causes of inequality overview of de-industrialization

Last updated March 3, 2000
comments to: Reeve Vanneman.