Monthly Archives

November 2022

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

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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