chapter  10
19 Pages

Network and Contact Diversities in Race and Gender and Status Attainment in the United States


The present chapter aims to contribute not only to the particular literature of diversity, but also to the general literature of social capital by delving into a sequential mediatory linkage from network diversity in race and gender to probability of utilizing diverse contacts in actual job search to contact status (or activated social capital) and fi nally to attained status in the labor market. Note that the main fi ndings in this research area generally reported the relation between cross-group contact and a varied set of labor market outcomes, leaving the source of cross-group contact and its relation to social capital unspecifi ed (Son and Lin, 2012; Lin 1999b, 2001c). In light of this weakness, it is imperative to conceptualize the causal mechanism between general network diversity and contact diversity, next to relate contact diversity with contact status that is in turn associated with status attainment. For that aim, in this chapter, network diversity is operationalized as the degree of heterogeneous social network composition in race and gender compared with network ego’s race and gender. Apart from job search process itself, it is possible to measure

diversity of ties in general social network because the Social Capital Project surveys employed position generators that provides information on race and gender, among other characteristics, of each network alter (for detailed description on position generators, refer to Lin and Dumin 1986; Van Der Gaag, Snijders and Flap 2008). Further, I propose that network diversity be an alternative indicator of strength of weak ties considering that heterogeneous social relations in race and gender may mostly be psychologically remote and relationally distant from egos (Granovetter 1973). Next, I defi ne contact diversity as a proportion of cross-race or cross-gender contacts activated in the job search process by job seekers. Network and contact diversities themselves are not related directly to obtaining better job search outcomes because they are the conduits to network resources. In other words, such diversities, being indicators of weak ties, off er greater chances for job seekers to utilize higher-contact status or activated social capital otherwise not reachable. At the last step, I propose that contact status leads job seekers to jobs of higher status, controlling for confounders, including prior job status. Therefore, the main proposition of the chapter is that network and contact diversities lead job seekers to contact resources and information, whereby job seekers are more likely to obtain better jobs.