As we have noted throughout this chapter, a key element in any research on cumulative discrimination is the availability of good longitudinal data. Therefore, studying the cumulative effects of discrimination requires the collection of longitudinal data that provide repeated measures for the same individual over time. Although existing longitudinal data sets are necessarily limited in the data they provide to investigate discrimination (or any other topic), they contain long-term information about behaviors and outcomes over time and across generations that allows the estimation of more dynamic models.

Conclusion: Measures of discrimination from one point in time and in one domain may be insufficient to identify the overall impact of discrimination on individuals. Further research is needed to model and analyze longitudinal and other data and to study how effects of discrimination may accumulate across domains and over time in ways that perpetuate racial inequality.

Recommendation 11.1. Major longitudinal surveys, such as the Panel Study of Income Dynamics, the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth, and others, merit support as data sources for studies of cumulative disadvantage across time, domains, generations, and population groups. Furthermore, consideration should be given to incorporating into these surveys additional variables or special topical modules that might enhance the utility of the data for studying the long-term effects of past discrimination. Consideration should also be given to including questions in new longitudinal surveys that would help researchers identify experiences of discrimination and their effects.

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