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A Counterfactual Framework for Studying the Causes and Consequences of Social Stratification

24 August 2023 at 1:30:00 am

Scholars studying social stratification have produced numerous descriptive findings regarding the complex relationships between demographic or socioeconomic indicators and life outcomes. However, this descriptive approach unnecessarily restricts the substantive and theoretical utility of stratification research. I present a framework based on causal intervention to integrate counterfactual reasoning with stratification research. This framework is designed to address questions such as: if the distribution of a socioeconomic achievement (e.g., education or occupation) by a demographic indicator (e.g., class, race, or gender) is altered by an intervention, how would that impact the distribution of social outcomes (e.g., income Gini coefficient, gender wage gap, or intergenerational mobility). The framework generates straightforward, intuitive, and policy-relevant quantities that reflect the causes and consequences of social stratification. In the presentation, I will introduce the research designs, clarify the identification assumptions and causal interpretations, as well as provide efficient and debiased machine-learning estimators for such methods.


About the speaker:

Lai Wei is a PhD candidate at Department of Sociology, Princeton University, where he is also affiliated with Center on Contemporary China, and Data-Driven Social Science Initiative. He studies quantitative methodology, social stratification and inequality, and public opinion in China. His dissertation research develops and applies causal inference methods to understand the causes and consequences of social stratification processes.

Substantively, his past and ongoing studies investigate the consequence of social immobility on health, fertility, and economic inequality, and the cause of social immobility through labor market channels, both in the context of the United States. He also studied the forms and determinants of political trust and subjective social status in China, using survey, experimental, and text data.


A Counterfactual Framework for Studying the Causes and Consequences of Social Stratification

Date: August 24, 2023 (Thursday)

Time: 9:30am

Zoom Meeting ID: 931 1673 5747 (password: 230824)

Speaker: Mr. Lai Wei

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