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Robert Allen Manduca

Assistant Professor of Sociology, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
Chapter Member: Michigan SSN
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About Robert

Manduca's research focuses on urban and regional economic development and the consequences of rising inequality for social life in the United States. He uses descriptive and simulation methods to study the impacts of changes in the income distribution on people and places. A recurring theme in his work is the importance of federal policy decisions in shaping the economic geography of the US.



"Reimagining the Governance of Work and Employment" (with Tamara Kay and Jason Spicer). Labor and Employment Relations Association Annual Research 2 (2020): 41-67.

Explores classic approaches to the regulation of employment that solidified in the period following the world wars. Explores how unions and collective bargaining, labor and employment laws, and social partnerships are, and will continue to be, important institutions in many countries. Reimagines old and new ideas for the governance of work and employment in global, digital, post-industrial, and rapidly changing economies and societies. 

"Income Inequality and the Persistence of Racial Economic Disparities" Sociological Science 5 (2018): 182-205.

Argues that a key and underappreciated driver of the racial income gap has been the national trend of rising income inequality.

"Fast Food Data: Where User-Generated Content Works and Where it Does Not." (with David Folch and Seth Spielman). Geographical Analysis 50, no. 2 (2018): 125-140.

Examine the correspondence between Phoenix metro area restaurants identified by a social media source ( and those from an administrative source (Maricopa Association of Governments [MAG]). Finds that they capture largely disjoint subsets of Phoenix restaurants, with only about one-third of restaurants in each data set present in the other.

"The Fading American Dream: Trends in Absolute Income Mobility since 1940" (with Raj Chetty, David Grusky, Maximilian Hell, Nathaniel Hendren, and Jimmy Narang). Science 3, no. 56 (2017): 398-406.

Estimates rates of "absolute income mobility" - the fraction of children who earn more than their parents - by combining historical data from Census and CPS cross-sections with panel data for recent birth cohorts from de-identified tax records.