Research

Environmental Justice


​Davis, K. (2016). False Assurances: The Public Health Effects of Pre-Flushing and Lead and Copper Rule Compliance in Flint, Michigan. Environmental Justice, 9(4), 103-108. Abstract: Under the control of a state-appointed emergency manager, City of Flint residents were disconnected from the Detroit Water and Sewage Department (DWSD) and began drawing water from the Flint River for almost 18 months. This switch was met with opposition from residents who claimed that the water from the Flint River was unsafe. After concerns were confirmed by independent researchers and the Flint water crisis became a topic of national debate, City of Flint and state-level officials chose to switch back to the DWSD and vowed to repair the damage caused by regulatory neglect. In this article, I explore additional factors that might have contributed to the water crisis in Flint, namely the conditions of the plumbing within Flint Community Schools and the corrosive nature of the water before the water source switch in 2014. Based on evidence from City of Flint Water Department audits and recent Lead and Copper Rule compliance data from Flint Community Schools inspection reports, I found that the children of Flint were at-risk of consuming lead-contaminated water years before this crisis received public attention. As noted in this article, problems with lead in the drinking water in schools were profoundly motivated by the persistent use of lead plumbing parts within Flint schools. In addition, elevated blood lead levels among the children of Flint have been likely influenced by Flint's ongoing, but silent, concern: its corrosive water and the effect it had on the city's water distribution system.




Black Sociology: Contemporary Issues and Future Directions


​Davis, K. (2015). African American Women Workers in the Postindustrial Period: The Role of Education in Evaluating Racial Wage Parity Among Women. In Earl Wright II and Edward Wallace (Ed.), Black Sociology: Contemporary Issues and Future Directions. Ashgate Publishing Company. Abstract: With US Census data drawn from the Integrated Public Use Microdata Series, this paper explores how educational attainment is related to wage differences among white, Black, and Latina women workers between 1960 and 2000. Evidence from this analysis demonstrates how increased educational equality among these women workers did not improve wage gaps throughout the period of study. This analysis illustrates a decline in the net effect of education on wages among high school educated workers. It also illustrates improvements in the net effect of education among white and Latina women with advanced degrees, while uncovering gradual declines in the net effect of education on the wages of Black women with advanced education.




Feminist Economics


​Davis, K. (2013). An End to Job Mobility on the Sales Floor: The Impact of Department Store Cost Cutting on African American Women, 1970-2000. Feminist Economics, 19(1), 54-75. Abstract: Much of the literature regarding the employability of African-American women focuses on how demographic factors like single parenthood, limited social capital, and low levels of education diminish their employment options. This study engages this literature by exploring the role that institutional factors, including state action and cost-cutting strategies in the workplace, play in shaping the structure of job opportunities available to high school-educated African-American women. Focusing on department store workers in the San Francisco Bay area, this case study highlights how shifts, including the increasing contingency of employment between 1970 and 2000, have constrained African-American women's experience and progress in this low-skilled workplace.




Racism in Post-Race America: New Theories, New Directions


​Davis, K., & Dickerson, N. (2008). Post-Industrial Restructuring in the Public Sector: Its Effect on Black, Latina, and White Female Workers between 1970-2000. In Charles Gallagher (Ed.), Racism in Post-Race America: New Theories, New Directions (pp. 213- 226). Social Forces Publishing. Abstract: This study offers a comparative analysis that uncovers shifts in the public sector among different racial/ethnic groups of women workers from 1970 through 2000. Using the Integrated Public Use Microdata Series, we find that workers who earned the least benefited the most from the public sector. Moreover, after controlling for individual characteristics, we find that the premium disappears for white women and is strongest for black women. We also uncover important variations in the public sector premium by level of government. Findings suggest that federal and state employment benefits all women. While local-level employment does benefit black women, we find that white and Latina women experience a wage penalty in local government jobs.