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Fossett, Mark Professor


My research explores the intersection of social and spatial demography and racial and ethnic inequality and stratification. Much of my work examines the conceptualization and measurement of intergroup inequality and seeks to understand how it varies across time and across communities. Relatedly, I have studied how community characteristics like relative minority size affect racial and ethnic prejudice and racial and ethnic socioeconomic inequality. I also have focused on the question of how imbalances in the number of men and women in communities affects family formation and the fraction of children being reared in mother-father families. In recent years I have examined the conception and measurement of residential segregation and formulated a new measurement framework. This new approach makes it possible to unify research on micro-level processes of residential attainment and city-level outcomes for residential segregation. It also makes it possible to measure segregation free of the vexing problem of index bias. Finally, understandings rooted in the new framework clarify how to best measure group residential separation noting that the dissimilarity index - the mostly widely used measure - is flawed and unreliable for assessing this aspect of residential segregation. I also have pioneered using computational models to investigate residential segregation dynamics. Agent translate discursive theories of segregation into concrete representations that then can be used to explore the implications of theory via judicious model-based experimentation. Most segregation research involves analysis of observational data at the aggregate level. This is poorly suited for untangling the complex effects that produce patterns of racial and ethnic segregation in urban areas. I have shown how computational models provide a potentially useful option for investigating how complex micro-level dynamics produce group differences in residential distributions across urban areas.

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HR job title

  • Professor