Black-white differences in occupational prestige: Their impact on child development

Dalton Conley, W. Jean Yeung

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


This article examines whether differences in parental occupational prestige mediate or moderate race differences in four indicators of child development - reading scores, math scores, Behavior Problems Index, and health status - using data from the Panel Study of Income Dynamics Child Development Supplement. The authors find that although for behavioral problems there is no impact of parental occupational prestige, for reading, math, and health there are significant academic returns to parental occupational prestige, but only for White families. The authors hypothesize that this racially distinct dynamic may be a result of ongoing discrimination in the labor market, thereby reducing the association between ability (job and parenting) and prestige; or it may be a result of the difficulty of Blacks to translate occupational prestige gains into other benefits as a result of discrimination outside the labor market; or finally, it may be the result of a generational lag between occupational status and parenting practices.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1229-1249
Number of pages21
JournalAmerican Behavioral Scientist
Issue number9
StatePublished - May 2005
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Social Psychology
  • Cultural Studies
  • Education
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • General Social Sciences


  • African Americans
  • Child development
  • Occupational prestige


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