Monthly Archives

June 2023

Research Findings

How technology developers can shape the future of work without leaving workers behind

June 29, 2023

The rise of ChatGPT and other generative AI models has taught creative and white collar professionals what many workers have long known: technological change can inspire fear and uncertainty about the future of work.

Yet, experts are increasingly getting out of the prediction business. Rather than estimating how many jobs or tasks will be displaced by new technologies, they remind us that the path of technological change is shaped by our collective choices. In fact, emerging technologies may impact the quality of work more than the quantity of jobs available.

Governments have released policy guidelines that outline principles for protecting our privacy and rights at work. Unions are seeking new ways to influence issues around data use and surveillance. Even some employers are stepping up to lead efforts to retrain and upskill displaced workers.

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Research Findings

Learning about inequality in unequal america

June 22, 2023

The joint growth of income segregation and inequality across Western nations calls attention to the changing conditions of life on each end of the growing divide. Alongside the material consequences of this process, there is an important cognitive aspect: as social worlds become increasingly divided by socioeconomic fault lines, how do we learn about the lives of others?

Sociologists are beginning to address this question by describing how people make sense of inequality. Understanding how we perceive and explain inequality is important because our beliefs, in turn, are predictive of a host of political attitudes on topics ranging from healthcare to redistribution and the welfare state.

My article in Research in Stratification and Social Mobility sets out to learn how young Americans growing up in a country defined by inequality and segregation learn about their society. I investigate this question in the context of college. School, more than any other institution today, provides the context for children’s cognitive, social and moral development, for its presence in children’s lives across the Western world is sustained, durable, and compulsory.

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Research Findings

Are lesbian, gay and bisexual people underrepresented in workplace authority?

June 15, 2023

Lesbian, gay and bisexual (LGB) people across the globe experience discrimination which leads to severe inequalities across life domains and especially in the labor market. In a German study about 30 percent of the LGB respondents report having experienced discrimination in their work life over the past two years. In addition, various studies show that gay and bisexual men earn less than heterosexual men and that occupational segregation and hiring decisions based on sexual orientation lead to inequalities in the labor market.

The gender pay gap and the underrepresentation of women in leadership positions and workplace authority are highly discussed and well-researched topics that received more and more attention in the last decades. In this context, results have shown that workplace authority – defined as control over the work process of others – is associated with higher earnings, status and psychological rewards (e.g., messages of worth and esteem). Recent research suggests that unequal access to workplace authority can shape further inequality. However, there is so far little empirical evidence about the connection between sexual orientation and workplace authority.

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Research Findings

Women’s entry into authority positions alone is not sufficient for achieving gender equality

June 8, 2023

Women are significantly underrepresented in positions of workplace authority and power across the globe. Improving women’s representation in authority jobs has become an important goal for many organizations and governments striving toward gender equality in the workplace. Firms are increasingly adopting policies to increase diversity at all levels of management and some governments have introduced legislation requiring a set quota of representation of women in corporate boards.

Although undoubtedly an important direction, my recent research in Gender & Society shows that women’s entry into authority positions alone is not sufficient for achieving gender equality.

In my research, I ask a straightforward yet underexplored question: how do the jobs and experiences of women and men compare once they have positions with authority?

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Research Findings

How civic capacity gets urban social innovations started

June 1, 2023

After President Trump withdrew from the Paris Climate Accords, several hundred mayors signed national and global treaties announcing their commitments to “step up and do more,” as a senior official of the City of New York told me in a poorly lit room in 2017. Cities were rushing to the forefront of adopting practices and policies to address contemporary social and environmental problems, such as climate change.

What the general enthusiasm masked is significant variation in the extent and speed at which cities adopt these innovations. The We’re Still in Campaign, supported by Bloomberg Philanthropies, actively pursued mayors of all colors to join the movement. But even with mayoral and philanthropic support, many cities have refrained from taking drastic action to protect the environment.

This variation reflects a general problem, frequently observed when it comes to local initiatives about infrastructure for electric vehicles, gender-neutral bathrooms, reigning in police violence, or even the desegregation of schools. Some cities are quick to transition to new ways of doing things, while others are slow to respond or do not adopt such social innovations. A recent study of the energy transition in US cities shines a new light on the origins of such disparities.

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