Research Findings

Long Covid sufferers decry gaslighting

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January 26, 2023

According to a nationally representative survey conducted in June 2022 by the Census Bureau and analyzed by the Centers for Disease Control, some 19% of adults in the United States who have contracted Covid-19 experience some form of Long Covid, equivalent to some 7.5% of the U.S. adult population.

Yet in spite of mounting scientific, epidemiological, and clinical evidence of Long Covid’s effect, and the recognition of Long Covid by the World Health Organization and the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH), Long Covid patients continue to face various forms of denialism and accusations that Long Covid does not exit. Patients have worked hard to translate their experiences into types of knowledge that are legible to scientists and policymakers, such as studies from the Patient-Led Research Collaborative.

For the past two years, our research team at the Covid-19 and Trust in Science Project (CATS) at the Trust Collaboratory at Columbia University have studied the experiences of Long Covid sufferers. In a recent study published in SSM-Qualitative Research in Health, we report findings from our Fall 2021 survey of social media users who self-identify as individuals with Long Covid in the United States.

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Research Findings

The unintended consequences of favorable ratings

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January 19, 2023

It seems as if every day a new rating comes out to assess organizations on some measure of performance. The thought is that by providing greater transparency and accountability, ratings will motivate these organizations to improve certain behaviors to obtain the praise of a positive rating and avoid the shame of a poor rating.

In most cases, this makes sense: a highly-rated hospital should be more appealing to patients than one with poor ratings, a highly-rated university should attract more applicants, and a highly-rated restaurant should garner more local interest. But what about ratings where the attributes being measured may be seen as less desirable by some stakeholders?

In today’s divisive society, it seems ever so timely to consider how companies respond to ratings on potentially polarizing issues. While we know that ratings are effective in shaping organizational behavior, most studies have examined widely valued issues such as reduced toxic emissions or the health and safety of nursing homes. What we don’t know is how companies react when the behavior being rated is more controversial.

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Research Findings

What is workplace bullying, and how to respond to it? Different responses by unions and employers in Brazil


January 12, 2023

Can employers and unions use the same term to describe a workplace conflict and still disagree about the actual meaning of this term? Although it might sound counterintuitive, this is what happens to workplace bullying in the Brazilian banking sector. Those different interpretations of workplace bullying are a consequence of how unions and employers understand labor relations and influence how unions and employers respond to bullying in the workplace.

Workplace bullying: single or multiple definitions?

Defining workplace bullying should not be a difficult task. Despite the different terms used in different parts of the world, such as workplace bullying, mobbing, or “moral” harassment, academics have for a long time agreed to define it as “the systematic display of aggressive behavior and social exclusion at work directed towards a subordinate, a co-worker or even a superior, as well as the perception of being systematically exposed to such mistreatment while at work.”

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Research Findings

How do professional knowledge workers cope with an uncertain future in the artificial intelligence age?


December 22, 2022

Artificial intelligence (AI) and other recent technologies that substitute human expertise are growing and increasingly diffused. In such an era, how can professional knowledge workers cope with their uncertain future?

In a recent study, I found a new mode of viewing the future as one of their coping strategies against advancing digitalization. Instead of searching for a “right” future projection, some professionals are increasingly accepting the future of professions as ever-changing and actively incorporating recent technologies to transform their work.

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Research Findings

Social class matters at college. What happened when campuses shut down?


December 15, 2022

Relationships with parents are a powerful—yet often hidden—source of inequality among college students.

Sociologists have extensively studied parental support in college, demonstrating how parents’ unequal socioeconomic resources produce inequalities on campus. For example, recent studies describe affluent and educated parents paying for tuition, coaching students how to interact with faculty, providing and funding internships, and editing résumés—forms of assistance not typically available to students whose parents did not attend college. However, we know less about how young adults themselves expect, negotiate, or attach meaning to these forms of parental support or how this varies across social class.

Enter the COVID-19 pandemic.

As sociologists have long recognized, major disruptions—heat waves, hurricanes, and the like—can offer novel insight into social processes that are otherwise difficult to observe. The COVID-19 pandemic upended US higher education and thrust a generation of college students into a state of crisis. Thus, it provided an ideal context to examine how students seek help from parents.

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Research Findings

Do employees mind the (gender wage) gap?


December 8, 2022

Although the gender wage gap has decreased substantially over the last 50 years, progress has stalled in recent decades. Forecasters project it would take until 2059 to eliminate the gender wage gap, if we kept up at the current pace.

The persistence of gender-based wage disparities has prompted calls for new approaches to address the issue. Prominent among these are mandatory disclosure laws, which a growing number of countries have adopted. Although the specifics vary from nation to nation, these laws require firms to publicly reveal data regarding the size of the gender wage gap. The idea is that public disclosure will “shame” firms with large wage gaps, creating pressure for them to address gender-based disparities in compensation. But does it play out that way?

In a recent paper published in Administrative Science Quarterly, we addressed this question by analyzing the reputational impacts of a 2017 mandatory disclosure law implemented in the United Kingdom. The law requires organizations with more than 250 employees to publicly post certain statistics about the gender wage gap at their organization.

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Research Findings

How startup diversity debt becomes self-reinforcing?

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December 1, 2022

Why are women less interested than men in applying for startup jobs? In a new article published in the Academy of Management Journal, we uncover an essential piece to this puzzle: Women are less interested in applying for startups when fewer women are already employed in these startups. Confused already? Let’s take a few steps back and try to explain this catch-22 situation.

Diversity debt

Women are underrepresented among entrepreneurs and their investors, but also among “joiners” – the distinct group of people who are attracted to employment in startups but have little desire to become founders.

When startups scale their workforce, they often accrue “diversity debt”– an initially skewed gender composition that demands costly and often unsuccessful attempts to remedy gender disparities as the organization grows. 

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Research Findings

What it’s Like when She Earns More: Does Race Matter?


November 17, 2022

Heterosexual marriages where the wife earns more than her husband are increasingly prevalent in the United States. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, women out-earn their husbands in almost 30% of dual-earner couples in 2020, up from just 18% in the 1980s. This is despite the fact that traditional ideas endure and many men still feel strong pressure to be the family breadwinner.

Clearly, there is a misalignment between women’s increasing economic power and the still prevalent traditional or “neotraditional” male-breadwinner model, a model in which wives either are not working or are employed but earn considerably less than their husbands. Does such a disjuncture lead to stress? Google certainly thinks so. A quick search of “wife breadwinner” leads to autocompleted terms such as “resentment,” “divorce,” or “wants divorce.” This is in line with previous research showing heightened risk of marital dissatisfaction and marital dissolution when wives earn more.

What is less understood, however, is whether this pattern reflects largely white couples’ experiences. Compared with whites, families in which the wife is the sole or primary breadwinner are much more common among Blacks. This can be traced back to the distinct work history of Blacks. Black men, for example, do not enjoy a boost in wages (“daddy bonus”) as much as their white counterparts when they become a father. Co-provider parents who both work for pay has long been the norm for Black married couples. Indeed, a recent interview study shows that a key component of being a strong Black woman is to being able to provide financially for the family. Being an equal- or sole-breadwinner is not problematic for Black women.

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Research Findings

Why are multidisciplinary scientists penalized in contests that are critical for their careers?

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November 10, 2022

Multidisciplinary science promises more innovation as it addresses larger problems that may go beyond the confines of narrow disciplines. But what consequences have multidisciplinarity for scientists who seek to advance their career in a discipline-dominated system of public science? 

Our research, published in Organization Science, shows that multidisciplinary academics are at a disadvantage when they are evaluated by their peers and enter contests, such as attaining institutional positions, that are critical to their career. What’s even more striking is that the better their scientific track record, the more penalized they are.

Particularly the latter result is surprising when considering previous research on the topic. Received sociological wisdom on the categorical imperative would suggest that individuals who do not fit neatly with a category, like a discipline, are discriminated against because evaluators find them confusing and suspect them of being less skilled and reliable. Applied to our context, multidisciplinary scientists would be hard to judge by their peers and be seen as less accomplished. This would mean that evidence of past academic performance should go a long way toward assuaging evaluators’ concerns. 

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Research Findings

Transgender women of color are more likely to avoid social welfare services and experience discrimination

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November 3, 2022

Alongside values like efficiency, economy, and effectiveness, the pursuit of social equity is a core pillar of public administration. This means that public servants working in policy and administrative spaces are obligated to eliminate barriers and pursue equitable treatment and outcomes for marginalized populations. In new research, we add to a growing literature on social equity in public administration through an examination of how transgender women of color engage with US social welfare offices.

Our core argument is that persons with intersecting marginalized identities – identifying as both a transgender woman and a person of color – will be more likely to avoid seeking out social welfare benefits like cash and food assistance, and more likely to report experiencing discriminatory treatment when engaging with social welfare offices. Using data from the 2015 US Transgender Survey our analysis suggests that transgender women of color, relative to other transgender identifying respondents like white transgender women, are more likely to both avoid seeking welfare services and face discrimination within social welfare offices. 

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