An Explanation For Jobless Poverty Through The Structural Hole Theory

1910 words - 8 pages

In the report A New Form of Social Dislocation in the Inner-City Ghetto, William Julius Wilson analyzes three research studies conducted in Chicago between 1986 and 1993. In these studies, Wilson discovers a new type of poverty, which he coins jobless poverty. Jobless poverty represents the growing number of workers who are not in the official job market because they either have dropped out of the labor force or cannot find employment. Wilson found that the largest amounts of jobless poverty are in poor, segregated neighborhoods where a majority of the population is black. The Structural Hole Theory can be applied to explain this rise in jobless poverty. According to the theory, the increasing amounts of jobless poverty are a result of decreasing amounts of social capital in neighborhoods with high rates of jobless poverty.
Since the 1950s, jobless poverty has been on the rise. In 1950, 69 percent of all black males aged fourteen and older living in the inner-city ghetto neighborhoods of Chicago were employed (Wilson 160). In 1960, 64 percent of all black males aged fourteen and older living in the inner-city ghetto neighborhoods of Chicago were employed (Wilson 160). However, by 1990 only 37 percent of all black males aged sixteen or over living in the inner-city ghetto neighbor-hoods of Chicago were employed (Wilson 160). These increases have led to disproportionately high rates of joblessness in inner-city ghettos. The sub-sequential effects have been worse than if only generally increases in poverty had occurred. Jobless poverty causes negative effects on routine and discipline, marriage and the family, and the social composition of neighborhoods.
Work in the formal economy is characterized by greater regularity and consistency in schedules and hours and therefore requires more discipline. Work in the formal economy determines where you are going to be and when you are going to be there. The absence of work in the formal economy therefore hinders planning in daily life. The inability to predict when the next paycheck is coming or whether you will be unemployed or busy in the upcoming weeks make it difficult to plan for the future. Both the parents and children are adversely affected from the lack of routine and discipline. Children growing up in households that do not have a family member with consistent employment in the formal economy fail to develop the discipline habits associated with steady or stable employment (Wilson 161). These habits include the attachment to a routine, recognition of hierarchy, a sense of personal efficacy through the routine management of financial affairs, and the association of personal and material rewards with dependability and responsibility. The lack of these habits continues to negatively influence the children in school where they lack the habits, which encourage educational success in the system.
Marriage is also affected. Wilson’s research in Chicago suggests that as employment prospects recede the...

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