research

weeden_plantations

fall at Cornell Plantations

 

If you are looking for Stata code to backcode SOC occupations or to implement the Weeden-Grusky microclass scheme, you’ll find what you need here.

I study inequality, primarily in advanced industrial societies, and how it is changing over time. I am currently working on projects on education, income inequality, gender inequality in labor markets, and social class.

Education

One project (with Steve Morgan), examines students’ experiences within the educational system, how these experiences differ by gender and class background, and how they are affected by students’ occupational plans. We are especially interested in young men and women’s plans to enter science occupations and the impact of these plans on their entry into (and exit from) science majors in college.

Another project (with Dafna Gelbgiser and Sarah Thébaud), documents the uneven distribution of men and women PhDs across fields and higher- and lower-ranked PhD programs. This paper was inspired by my work at CU-ADVANCE, an NSF-funded institutional grant to improve women’s representation in academic science, engineering, and social sciences.

See related papers here.

Gender inequality in labor markets

Together with Youngjoo Cha, I am studying how changes in the prevalence of long work hours, and the “price” employers pay for long hours, affected trends in the gender gap in wages.

My past work on gender inequality looked at long-term trends in the segregation of men and women across occupations, the impact of flexible work arrangements (e.g., flextime, telecommuting) on men and women’s wages, and “multidimensional” gender segregation across industries and occupations.

See related papers here.

Income inequality and closure

A major line of my research focuses on the sources of market-based income inequalities and their takeoff in many advanced industrialized societies in the past four decades. Together with David Grusky, I argue that rising income inequality in liberal market economies is as much due to market failures that prevent the supply of high skill workers from meeting demand as it is to the well-documented decline of institutions (e.g., unions, the real minimum wage) that formerly protected lower-skill workers.

A closely related line of research looks at the social and legal barriers (e.g., licenses, educational credentials, occupational unions) that restrict the supply of labor in occupations (“occupational closure”) and affect the pay of workers in those occupations. Most recently, Thijs Bol and I have collected and analyzed data on occupational closure and wages in the UK and Germany.

See related papers here.

Social class, “microclasses”, and measuring inequality

This project, with David Grusky, examines the structure of inequality and how it is changing. One stream of research shows that “microclasses” (occupations) are better able to capture heterogeneity in individual life conditions — life chances, lifestyles and consumption practices, social attitudes, political behaviors, and so forth — than the conventional “big class” schemes or socioeconomic scales often used in sociology.

We have also examined whether (sociological) social classes are still as salient to life conditions as they once were, or whether they have been supplanted by other dimensions of inequality (e.g., income, education, wealth). We have also devised models that could be used to assess different ways of simplifying a multidimensional inequality space.

See related papers here.