Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access Dissertation



First Advisor

Shelley A Smith


This study examines how the new urban economy has transformed the structures that impact individual earnings opportunities across place. Using data from the 1990 and 2000 Census, this study is based on two multi-level data sets, each reporting characteristics for approximately 2 million individuals nested within more than 200 Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSAs). This study examines how inequality varies across MSAs in the US. Associations between MSA-level characteristics, including proportion of employment in new economy sectors, earnings, educational attainment, and inequality, are tested. Strong evidence is found demonstrating strong and statistically significant correlations between new economy indicators and MSA-level inequality, which is measured through an MSA-level Gini index and an earnings ratio. In the last portion of the study, hierarchical linear modeling, which makes it possible to test and control for cross-level interactions, is used to examine how these indicators shape individual earnings across place.

Included in

Sociology Commons