clear from research
on corporate leadership that a glass ceiling prevents many women from occupying
top executive or CEO positions.
recent article, we find that the glass ceiling is far more extensive than previous literature finds: women are not just
excluded from top leadership positions, but rather they are excluded from
nearly all top income positions regardless of occupation. We also find that
progress on this front has been stalled for the last twenty years.
In the early weeks of the pandemic, it became clear that meatpacking workers would bear a heavy burden, along with other frontline workers. In the meatpacking and food processing plant sector, nearly 92,000 workers have tested positive for COVID-19 and 466 workers have died from COVID-19, as of September 2021. Available data show that workers of color account for 80% of confirmed cases in an industry in which people of color comprise 80% of the workforce.
In a recent article in Sociological Perspectives, we drew on case studies of meatpacking facilities in three Midwestern states to analyze how industry consolidation and the hiring of marginalized workers affected worker safety and food system stability during the pandemic. We find that the meatpacking industry’s hyper-concentration and exploitative labor strategies created precarious structural conditions which COVID-19 deepened, producing two inter-connected processes:
The “one percent” are increasingly seen as an important point of debate in discussions on rising inequalities. But how do top income earners themselves perceive their income? Do they view top incomes as fair?
To answer this question, I conducted a study where I interviewed people in the United Kingdom with incomes that place them within the top one percent of the distribution. Most of the 30 top income earners I talked to were men, lived in London and worked in the financial industry. They worked in firms such as investment banks, hedge funds, and barristers’ chambers.
I found that the cultural process of performance pay is important for how top income earners perceive inequality.
The 1970s and 1980s marked a disaster for the U.S. labor movement. Gone was nearly one out of three members in the private sector, once the heart of organized labor. Today unions represent six percent of corporate employees, the same as in 1929.
Facing slow extinction, leaders of large unions and their federations sought to rebuild. It led to prolonged membership campaigns like Justice for Janitors and the creation of an organizing-oriented union federation, Change to Win. There was experimentation with new tactics, one of which was the leveraging of union pension assets to restore labor’s power.
My new book, Labor in the Age of Finance: Pensions, Politics, and Corporations, examines the financial turn. It came on the heels of a shareholder revolt led by public pension plans from blue states and cities, the vanguard being the giant California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS). Whereas once most stock was directly owned by households, post-1980 financialization transferred ownership to a relatively small group of institutional investors, including pension funds.
To many Americans, the term “domestic servant” conjures up images of other places and other times. Maybe it is Downton Abbey. Or maybe it is a Latin American country. Or if we do think about the United States, we think about a time long in the past.
But contrary to popular perceptions, domestic service is very much a part of the contemporary American landscape, and is in fact on the rise for the first time in over one hundred years.
What explains this twenty-first century resurgence of an occupation that sociologist Lewis Coser declared obsolete in 1973? The short answer: inequality.
Many people today, spend some of their spare time doing volunteer work in the belief that it will be looked upon favorably by employers and lead to better-paying jobs.
A recent analysis of longitudinal data from the United Kingdom published in Social Science Research confirms that they are correct, but only for those with jobs in the “salariat” – professionals, managers, administrators and the like – while working class volunteers pay a penalty for their altruism.
This topic is of considerable interest today because recent developments in the economies of advanced industrial societies have changed the social contract between employers and employees. As employment has become more precarious, workers find they can no longer rely on a system where opportunities are defined internally by tenure or rank; instead, they must market themselves. Under constant pressure to prepare for the next job, they are advised to network assiduously, learn new skills by returning to school, and even take classes on writing persuasive job applications and performing well in interviews. In some cases they are advised to take unpaid or marginally paid positions such as internships or to perform volunteer work.
The association between income and wealth is surprisingly complex and not well-understood. Yet this relationship is central to many of the questions that scholars of work, occupations, and inequality study.
The two are related but conceptually distinct: income is the flow of financial resources into a household from wages and salaries, investment returns, government transfer payments, and other sources. By contrast, wealth is a household’s total saved resources and is usually measured as net worth (total assets less total debts).
Both income and wealth are important measures of household financial well-being, the benefits a household receives from paid labor, and inequality across households. Not surprisingly, academics have rightfully studied both measures extensively; however, the association between income and wealth—beyond what each measure tells us on its own—holds additional and critical information that has attracted very little attention.
At first, the relationship between income and wealth may seem simple: as income increases, so too should wealth. Indeed, many assume that these indicators are strongly and positively correlated. In reality, the correlation between income and wealth is positive but relatively low, and there is no single, simple explanation for what happens to wealth when income rises.
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.
Many people believe that transphobia is the only cause of violence experienced by transgender people. If that was true, all transgender people would be at equal risk of experiencing violence at all times. However, there are actually distinct patterns in this violence related to gender, race, and sexuality. These social systems interact in ways that increase the risk of violence for certain transgender people, while decreasing it for others. Identifying these patterns is vital to developing effective policies and practices to prevent it.
Until recently, violence against transgender people was extremely understudied, reducing our ability to effectively recognize factors shaping this violence. To address part of this knowledge gap, I used an innovative method to create an original dataset of all the known murders of transgender people in the United States during the 30-year period between 1990 and 2019. The first of its kind, this dataset is comprised of information gathered from activist, mainstream news, and government sources.
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.
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.