American Sociological Association

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  1. Nonmarital First Births, Marriage, and Income Inequality

    Many aggregate-level studies suggest a relationship between economic inequality and sociodemographic outcomes such as family formation, health, and mortality; individual-level evidence, however, is lacking. Nor is there satisfactory evidence on the mechanisms by which inequality may have an effect. We study the determinants of transitions to a nonmarital first birth as a single parent or as a cohabiting parent compared to transitions to marriage prior to a first birth among unmarried, childless young adults in the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth, 1997 cohort, from 1997 to 2011.

  2. What Skills Can Buy: Transmission of Advantage through Cognitive and Noncognitive Skills

    Parental income and wealth contribute to children’s success but are at least partly endogenous to parents’ cognitive and noncognitive skills. We estimate the degree to which mothers’ skills measured in early adulthood confound the relationship between their economic resources and their children’s postsecondary education outcomes.

  3. Study Reveals Incarceration’s Hidden Wounds for African American Men

    There’s a stark and troubling way that incarceration diminishes the ability of a former inmate to empathize with a loved one behind bars, but existing sociological theories fail to capture it, Vanderbilt University sociologists have found.

  4. Income Inequality Leads Millennials to Start Families before Marriage

    Rising income inequality, and the resulting scarcity of certain types of jobs, is a key reason a growing number of young Americans are having babies before getting married.

  5. Category Taken-for-Grantedness as a Strategic Opportunity: The Case of Light Cigarettes, 1964 to 1993

    Theories within organizational and economic sociology that center on market categories often equate taken-for-grantedness with increased constraint on category members’ features. In contrast, we develop a novel perspective that considers how market participants’ changing category-related attributions decrease the scrutiny of category offerings, opening up strategic opportunities for firms. We further argue that whether producers should be expected to take advantage of these opportunities depends on the extent to which they are incentivized to do so.

  6. Can Ratings Have Indirect Effects? Evidence from the Organizational Response to Peers’ Environmental Ratings

    Organizations are increasingly subject to rating and ranking by third-party evaluators. Research in this area tends to emphasize the direct effects of ratings systems that occur when ratings give key audiences, such as consumers or investors, more information about a rated firm. Yet, ratings systems may also indirectly influence organizations when the collective presence of more rated peers alters the broader institutional and competitive milieu.

  7. Can We Finish the Revolution? Gender, Work-Family Ideals, and Institutional Constraint

    Why has progress toward gender equality in the workplace and at home stalled in recent decades? A growing body of scholarship suggests that persistently gendered workplace norms and policies limit men’s and women’s ability to create gender egalitarian relationships at home. In this article, we build on and extend prior research by examining the extent to which institutional constraints, including workplace policies, affect young, unmarried men’s and women’s preferences for their future work-family arrangements. We also examine how these effects vary across education levels.

  8. The Price of Protection: A Trajectory Analysis of Civil Remedies for Abuse and Women’s Earnings

    We know men’s violence against women is costly. Yet, we know little about the costs—or benefits—of women’s efforts to end it. This study investigates the temporal dynamics of women’s earnings and petitioning for a Protection from Abuse (PFA) civil restraining order. Women’s earnings might rise or fall at the time of petitioning but quickly return to pre-petitioning levels, a short-term boost or shock; or, petitioning might precipitate a longer-term stall or upward shift in women’s earnings.

  9. Dignity and Dreams: What the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) Means to Low-Income Families

    Money has meaning that shapes its uses and social significance, including the monies low-income families draw on for survival: wages, welfare, and the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). This study, based on in-depth interviews with 115 low-wage EITC recipients, reveals the EITC is an unusual type of government transfer. Recipients of the EITC say they value the debt relief this government benefit brings. However, they also perceive it as a just reward for work, which legitimizes a temporary increase in consumption.

  10. America's Biggest Secret or Life in a Culture of Pay Secrecy?

    My eight-year-old daughter received the classic Hasbro Game of Life as a holiday gift this past year.  What caught my attention right away while playing the game with her were the salaries.