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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
In the last decade, housework research emphasized the importance of focusing on economic resources, particularly women’s own resources, to analyze housework participation and the amount of time people spend on housework. Meanwhile, most research papers in the period modeled women’s and men’s housework time separately, whereas the need to analyze the gender gap itself remained.
We know that there are differences in housework time between women and men. We also know that resources, particularly women’s own resources, are important in explaining their housework time. But how much do economic resources actually matter in the gender gap in housework? Does the effect of resources increase or decrease over time?
In the recent paper published in the Social Science Journal, we answer these questions and analyze the gender gap in housework time using the American Time Use Survey Data Extract Builder (ATUS-X) data for the period of 2003-2019. First, we examined how much economic resources such as spousal and own usual weekly paid work hours, spousal and own hourly wage, and women’s earnings share explain the gender gap in housework time. As Figure 1 shows, the combined effect of resources can explain up to about 40% of the gender gap in housework.
Day laborers are among the most vulnerable workers in the United States. Nationally, about three-quarters are unauthorized immigrants from Latin America. Day laborers may wait on a street corner, outside home improvement stores, or at a growing network of non-profit worker centers throughout the country, hoping that an employer will hire them for the day. Some jobs may turn into longer-term arrangements or even contracts, but day labor is usually defined by daily jobs for hourly cash pay.
Wage theft—or the denial of legally owed wages and benefits—is particularly acute for day laborers. Wage theft can take many forms, but day laborers tend to suffer one its most egregious manifestations: outright non-payment.
In our mixed-methods study in the Denver, Colorado metropolitan area, we explored what factors made day laborers vulnerable to wage theft. Did higher levels of education, more time and experience in the U.S., legal authorization, housing security, and English abilities improve the economic prospects of some workers? Or did the nature of contingent work more evenly distribute its associated work hazards like wage theft? Finally, we wondered if more legal knowledge would motivate workers to demand higher wages, improve their work prospects, and prevent wage theft?
Many connect ‘unfree labor’ with slavery. This view, however, makes other forms of ‘unfreedom,’ where labor is prevented from entering or exiting labor markets on their own, escape scrutiny.
Based on ethnographic research conducted among Sri Lanka’s female global factory workers, my new work demonstrates that even when women are not forced to join or stay within contractor labor pools, they remain unfree due to cultural and emotional bonds that restrict their mobility.
Focusing on the intricate ways such invisible bonds are produced, I shed light on the contradictions of global capitalism: specifically, the promise of freedom versus the reality of complex forms of coercion. Instead of the promised social independence, women encounter newer forms of control and discipline that seek to make them obedient workers of global assembly lines.
My mother was a middle manager at a call center when she lost her job during the Great Recession. For the next eight years, I watched her work one odd job after another to make ends meet, but her employment during that time was never as reliable as it was before the country’s economic crash forced her to change course.
More than a decade later, my mother’s story is no longer unique. In fact, short-term employment, especially in the gig economy is fast becoming the norm. Millions of Americans – both blue and white collar – are making a living through platforms such as TaskRabbit, Uber, Lyft, Instacart, Fiverr, UpWork, GrubHub, and others. According to government data, more than a third of the American workforce is participating in non-standard work arrangements, such as gig jobs, a number that is expected to rise.
This compelling data, combined with my mother’s experiences, inspired me to study the gig economy. Specifically, I wanted to know how independent workers give meaning to their daily tasks and find personal satisfaction in jobs that are highly transactional and lacking in organizational structure. The freedom to work without walls, annoying co-workers, or micromanaging bosses has its highs, but the lows can be hard on the soul.
“They squeeze the spirit and the heart out of everything they touch,” Tracy said. She was referring to mainstream health care. “Not every hospice nurse has that heart, and not every doctor has that heart, but I do.”
Tracy is an end-of-life activist. A former oncology and hospice nurse, she wants to change how we care for people who are dying. Her vision is modeled after the natural birth movement, and she describes herself as a death midwife. She owns a business that teaches and certifies end-of-life doulas.
As a nurse, Tracy was troubled by how many people suffer needlessly at the end of their lives. Palliative care worked wonders, but it was usually too little, too late. “It pained me to see that people could come onto hospice, and within a day or two most of the time, we could get them comfortable,” she said. “They had been suffering for months and years.”