Mosi Ifatunji

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PhD, Assistant Professor, Sociology

ifatunji@unc.edu

CPC Office: 137 E Franklin St, Room 6111

Dr. Ifatunji's Curriculum Vitae

Dr. Ifatunji's Personal Home Page

Dr. Ifatunji's Google Scholar profile

Dr. Ifatunji's CPC publications

Ifatunji focuses on the role that race and culture play in creating and maintaining social stratification. He is specifically interested in what he calls the “black ethnic comparative,” or various comparisons between African Americans and black immigrants. This comparison provides for a quasi-experimental design where “racialized physical features” (i.e., skin color, hair texture and bone structure) are held constant across different population groups, thereby allowing for an examination of the degree to which various within group attributes (e.g., human capital and cultural attributes) are responsible for both black ethnic disparities and social inequality more generally. This comparison also allows him to advance a theory on “racialization.” Recently, some have argued that the process of racialization includes non-physical features. Since his comparison holds racial phenotype constant across different populations, his research consolidates and tests the degree to which the process of racialization is different across black ethnic groups.

Ifatunji is currently working on a series of manuscripts that employ the black ethnic comparative. One paper under review explores the role of cultural attributes in socioeconomic disparities between African Americans and Afro Caribbeans. This study provides limited and qualified support for the “Afro Caribbean model minority hypothesis.” However, factors associated with this hypothesis leave the vast majority of employment and income disparities between African Americans and Afro Caribbeans unexplained. A second paper under review tests for the role of the “immigrant selectivity thesis” in black ethnic socioeconomic disparities. Although this theory posits that immigrants outperform natives because of greater soft skills – like motivation – he shows that standard etic and emic measures of motivation do not attenuate employment and income disparities between African Americans and Afro Caribbeans.

Ifatunji is currently working on additional manuscripts that advance research in this area. Continuing his exploration into the nature and cause of black ethnic socioeconomic disparities, he explores the role of white employers. He shows that African Americans and Afro Caribbeans are not particularly different in the ways that white employers have described them previously during in-depth interviews. He therefore employs a series of multivariate decompositions and finds that as much as 90% of the disparities in employment and income between African Americans and Afro Caribbeans are due to differential returns to the same characteristics. Moreover, Afro Caribbean incomes are 22% higher when working for white employers, net all other study variables; there is no such ‘white employer effect’ for African Americans. Finally, Ifatunji is preparing a manuscript that draws upon matched data from the Current Population Survey and the Longitudinal Employer-Household Dynamics survey to produce the first panel study of black ethnic disparities in wage growth. This study includes African Americans and black immigrants from both Africa and the Caribbean. Preliminary findings show that African immigrants have the steepest growth curves.

Ifatunji is also the Instructor for Race, Ethnicity and Quantitative Methodology, a course offering of the Inter-University Consortium for Social and Political Research (ICPSR) Summer Program, at the Institute for Social Research (ISR) of the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor. The aim of the course is twofold: to develop quantitative researchers who give greater, more careful and keen consideration to how race and ethnicity fit in their statistical models and to provide more qualitatively inclined students of race and ethnicity with advanced training in analyzing multivariate statistical models in their subfield. Since the course brings together state-of-the-art theory on both race/ethnicity and multivariate statistics, Ifatunji is developing a series of lectures which he is planning to convert into a series of manuscripts related to race, ethnicity and statistical methodology. These include one theoretical essay on the nature of ‘racial orders’ and others that provide empirical tests of the core assumptions in this theoretical essay.

Ifatunji will continue his existing research – which uses the black ethnic comparative to advance our understanding of racial and social stratification in the US – and begin to explore how “socially constructed race” gets “under the skin.” He is currently preparing two early career applications (through CPC) that will provide him with the requisite training and research leave to continue his work on black ethnic socioeconomic disparities and eventually use understandings derived from this work to explain disparities in hypertension between African Americans and black immigrants. His preliminary findings show that African Americans have hypertension rates that are about 30% greater than both first and second generation Afro Caribbeans. Since African Americans and Afro Caribbeans have very similar slave ancestries and racialized physical features, comparing these two populations allows him to isolate the role of social contextual factors in hypertension disparities – particularly the large and persistent disparities between whites and African Americans. In addition to better documenting black ethnic disparities in hypertension, Ifatunji plans to use his developing theoretical framework on the use of non-physical features in the process of racialization in order to explain how race and culture promote social stratification.

Primary Research Areas:

  • Demography

  • Population Health

Information updated on 6/29/2017

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