SAGE Sociology

Author Leah Ruppanner discusses work-family conflict and more from her article in the May 2014 issue of Work and Occupations, "Blurred Boundaries: Gender and Work-Family Interference in Cross-National Context."

Abstract: Although well theorized at the individual level, previous research has neglected the role of national context in shaping overall levels of nonwork–work and work–nonwork interference. This study fills this gap by examining how a national context of gender empowerment affects the likelihood of experiencing nonwork–work and work–nonwork interference at the individual and national levels. Controlling for individual-level differences in the distribution of job demands and resources, results from our multilevel models indicate that women’s empowerment has significant net gender and parenthood effects on nonwork–work interference. By contrast, gender empowerment equally structures work–nonwork interference for these groups. Our results highlight the need to investigate interference bidirectionally and in a multilevel context.

Article available here.


Posted March 2014.

Direct download: WOX_Leah_Ruppanner.mp3
Category:Sociology -- posted at: 11:27am EDT

Author Julie Kmec discusses her article for the February 2014 issue of Work and Occupations, "Not Ideal: The Association Between Working Anything But Full Time and Perceived Unfair Treatment."

Abstract: Ideal-worker norms permeate workplaces, guiding employers’ evaluation of workers and perceptions of workers’ worth. The authors investigate how an ideal-worker norm violation—working anything but full time—affects workers’ perception of unfair treatment. The authors assess gender and parental status differences in the relationship. Analyses using Midlife Development in the United States II data reveal that women who violate the norm when they have children perceive greater unfair treatment than women who violate the norm but do not have children in the study period. Men who work anything but full time do not perceive unfair treatment. The authors’ findings inform efforts to challenge ideal-worker norms.

Article available here.


Posted February 2014.

Direct download: WOX_Julie_Kmec.mp3
Category:Sociology -- posted at: 11:18am EDT

Author Elizabeth Aura McClintock takes on the trophy wife stereotype in discussing her article for the August 2014 issue of American Sociological Review, “Beauty and Status: The Illusion of Exchange in Partner Selection?”

Abstract: Scholars have long been interested in exchange and matching (assortative mating) in romantic partner selection. But many analyses of exchange, particularly those that examine beauty and socioeconomic status, fail to control for partners’ tendency to match each other on these traits. Because desirable traits in mates are positively correlated between partners and within individuals, ignoring matching may exaggerate evidence of cross-trait beauty-status exchange. Moreover, many prior analyses assume a gendered exchange in which women trade beauty for men’s status, without testing whether men might use handsomeness to attract higher-status women. Nor have prior analyses fully investigated how the prevalence of beauty-status exchange varies between different types of couples. I use data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health Romantic Pair Sample, a large (N = 1,507) nationally representative probability sample of dating, cohabiting, and married couples, to investigate how often romantic partners exchange physical attractiveness and socioeconomic status, net of matching on these traits. I find that controlling for matching eliminates nearly all evidence of beauty-status exchange. The discussion focuses on the contexts in which beauty-status exchange is most likely and on implications these results have for market-based and sociobiological theories of partner selection.

Article available here.


Posted June 2014

Direct download: ASR_Elizabeth_McClintock.mp3
Category:Sociology -- posted at: 6:55pm EDT


Author David (Dave) Jacobs discusses his article with Lindsey Myers for the August 2014 issue of American Sociological Review, "Union Strength, Neoliberalism, and Inequality: Contingent Political Analyses of U.S. Income Differences Since 1950." 

Abstract: Do historically contingent political accounts help explain the growth in family income inequality in the United States? We use time-series regressions based on 60 years to detect such relationships by assessing interactive associations between the neoliberal departure coincident with Ronald Reagan’s election and the acceleration in inequality that began soon after Reagan took office. We find evidence for this and for a second contingent relationship: stronger unions could successfully resist policies that enhanced economic inequality only before Reagan’s presidency and before the neoliberal anti-union administrations from both parties that followed Reagan. Politically inspired reductions in union membership, and labor’s diminished political opportunities during and after Reagan’s presidency, meant unions no longer could slow the growth in U.S. inequality. Coefficients on these two historically contingent interactions remain significant after many additional determinants are held constant. These findings indicate that political determinants should not be neglected when researchers investigate the determinants of U.S. inequality.

Full article available here.


Posted June 2014

Direct download: ASR_Dave_Jacobs.mp3
Category:Sociology -- posted at: 6:26pm EDT

Author James (Jim) Meehan discusses his article for the August 2014 issue of the Journal of Applied Social Science, “Reinventing Real Estate: The Community Land Trust as a Social Invention in Affordable Housing.”

Abstract:The community land trust (CLT) is a social invention designed to solve several problems in land ownership, from affordability to preservation. This article traces the history of the CLT from concept to implementation, through a network of theorists and activists, and discusses the present extent of CLTs in the United States. It concludes with a case study of the Dudley Street Neighborhood Initiative (DSNI), a community development organization in Boston, that has used the CLT model as part of its holistic strategy to redevelop a neighborhood that has suffered from redlining, arson, and abandonment. DSNI is perhaps the only community organization in the United States to have attained the power of eminent domain to acquire land for housing development.


Article available here.

Direct download: JASS_Jim_Meehan.mp3
Category:Sociology -- posted at: 1:17pm EDT

Author Stoyan Sgourev discusses his article for the April 2014 issue of American Sociological Review, “‘Notable’ or ‘Not Able’: When Are Acts of Inconsistency Rewarded?”

Abstract: Atypical practices of crossing categories or genres are generally discouraged in the market, but the ideal of the Renaissance mind persists. Building on recent work elaborating the need to reward the greater risk associated with atypicality for it to survive, this article provides the first systematic, direct evidence for such a reward. We focus on stylistic inconsistency—mixing distinct artistic styles. In a between-subject experimental design, 183 subjects estimated the aesthetic and market value of consistent and inconsistent sets of artworks by Pablo Picasso in three status conditions. Controlling for cognitive difficulties posed by inconsistency, we show that inconsistency is rewarded (i.e., evaluated higher than consistency on aesthetic value) only at high status. Status cues guide perception so that inconsistent works by a prominent artist are given the benefit of the doubt and interpreted as a sign of creativity. The association with creativity leads to a reward for atypicality in the absence of tangible proof that it performs better than typicality.

Article available here.


Posted April 2014

Direct download: ASR_Stoyan_Sgourev.mp3
Category:Sociology -- posted at: 12:36pm EDT

Co-authors Erin Kelly and Phyllis Moen discuss their article for the June 2014 issue, "Changing Work  and Work-Family Conflict: Evidence from the Work, Family, and Health Network.


This study was conducted as part of the Work, Family and Health Network (, supported by the National Institutes of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Abstract: Schedule control and supervisor support for family and personal life may help employees manage the work-family interface. Existing data and research designs, however, have made it difficult to conclusively identify the effects of these work resources. This analysis utilizes a group-randomized trial in which some units in an information technology workplace were randomly assigned to participate in an initiative, called STAR, that targeted work practices, interactions, and expectations by (1) training supervisors on the value of demonstrating support for employees’ personal lives and (2) prompting employees to reconsider when and where they work. We find statistically significant, although modest, improvements in employees’ work-family conflict and family time adequacy, and larger changes in schedule control and supervisor support for family and personal life. We find no evidence that this intervention increased work hours or perceived job demands, as might have happened with increased permeability of work across time and space. Subgroup analyses suggest the intervention brought greater benefits to employees more vulnerable to work-family conflict. This study uses a rigorous design to investigate deliberate organizational changes and their effects on work resources and the work-family interface, advancing our understanding of the impact of social structures on individual lives.

Article available here.


Posted May 2014

Direct download: ASR_Phyllis_Erin.mp3
Category:Sociology -- posted at: 12:12pm EDT

Author Youngjoo Cha discusses her article for the June 2014 issue of American Sociological Review, “Overwork and the Slow Convergence in the Gender Gap in Wages.”

Abstract: Despite rapid changes in women’s educational attainment and continuous labor force experience, convergence in the gender gap in wages slowed in the 1990s and stalled in the 2000s. Using CPS data from 1979 to 2009, we show that convergence in the gender gap in hourly pay over these three decades was attenuated by the increasing prevalence of “overwork” (defined as working 50 or more hours per week) and the rising hourly wage returns to overwork. Because a greater proportion of men engage in overwork, these changes raised men’s wages relative to women’s and exacerbated the gender wage gap by an estimated 10 percent of the total wage gap. This overwork effect was sufficiently large to offset the wage-equalizing effects of the narrowing gender gap in educational attainment and other forms of human capital. The overwork effect on trends in the gender gap in wages was most pronounced in professional and managerial occupations, where long work hours are especially common and the norm of overwork is deeply embedded in organizational practices and occupational cultures. These results illustrate how new ways of organizing work can perpetuate old forms of gender inequality.

Article available here.


Posted May 2014

Direct download: ASR_Youngjoo_Cha.mp3
Category:Sociology -- posted at: 12:04pm EDT

Author Susan Olzak discusses her article with Suzanne Shanahan for the June 2014 issue of American Sociological Review, “Prisoners and Paupers: The Impact of Group Threat on Incarceration in Nineteenth-Century U.S. Cities.”

Abstract: This article uses data on prisoners incarcerated for misdemeanors in late-nineteenth-century U.S. cities to assess a three-part argument that asserts that threats to white dominance prompted efforts of social control directed against African Americans and foreign-born whites: (1) For African Americans, competition with whites for jobs instigated efforts by whites to enforce the racial barrier. (2) For the foreign-born, upward mobility became associated with white identity, which allowed those who “became white” to be seen as less threatening. We thus expect the threat from foreign-born whites to be highest where their concentration in poverty was greatest. (3) We suggest that violence against a given boundary raises the salience of group threat, so a positive relationship should exist between prior violence against a group and its level of incarceration for misdemeanors. Using panel analyses of cities from 1890 through 1910, we find supporting evidence for the first two arguments and partial support for the third.

Article available here.


Posted May 2014

Direct download: ASR_Susan_Olzak.mp3
Category:Sociology -- posted at: 11:56am EDT

Author Sarah Brayne discusses her article for the June 2014 issue of American Sociological Review, “Surveillance and System Avoidance: Criminal Justice Contact and Institutional Attachment.”


Abstract:The degree and scope of criminal justice surveillance increased dramatically in the United States over the past four decades. Recent qualitative research suggests the rise in surveillance may be met with a concomitant increase in efforts to evade it. To date, however, there has been no quantitative empirical test of this theory. In this article, I introduce the concept of “system avoidance,” whereby individuals who have had contact with the criminal justice system avoid surveilling institutions that keep formal records. Using data from Add Health (n = 15,170) and the NLSY97 (n = 8,894), I find that individuals who have been stopped by police, arrested, convicted, or incarcerated are less likely to interact with surveilling institutions, including medical, financial, labor market, and educational institutions, than their counterparts who have not had criminal justice contact. By contrast, individuals with criminal justice contact are no less likely to participate in civic or religious institutions. Because criminal justice contact is disproportionately distributed, this study suggests system avoidance is a potential mechanism through which the criminal justice system contributes to social stratification: it severs an already marginalized subpopulation from institutions that are pivotal to desistance from crime and their own integration into broader society.


Article available here.



Posted May 2014

Direct download: ASR_Sarah_Brayne.mp3
Category:Sociology -- posted at: 11:47am EDT

Author Antonie Knigge discusses his article for the June 2014 issue of American Sociological Review, “Status Attainment of Siblings during Modernization.”


Abstract: The modernization thesis claims that intergenerational social mobility increased over time due to industrialization and other modernization processes. Here, we test whether this is indeed the case. We study approximately 360,000 brothers from 189,000 families covering more than 500 municipalities in the Netherlands and a 70-year period (1827 to 1897). We complement these sibling- and family-level data with municipal indicators for the degree of industrialization, mass communication, urbanization, educational expansion, geographic mobility, and mass transportation. We analyze these data by applying sibling models, that is, multilevel regression models where brothers are nested in families, which in turn are nested in communities. We find that the total—unmeasured—family effect on sons’ status attainment decreases slightly and is higher than that found for contemporary societies. The measured influence of the family, operationalized by father’s occupational status, decreased gradually in the Netherlands in the second half of the nineteenth century. A substantial part of this decrease was due to some, but not all, of the modernization processes adduced by the modernization thesis.


Article can be found here.


Posted June 2014.

Direct download: ASR_Antonie_Knigge.mp3
Category:Sociology -- posted at: 6:57pm EDT