New Publications

The Economic Sociology of Development by Andrew Schrank

Bringing the study of international inequality back into the core of sociological theory, this book offers a user-friendly introduction to development and underdevelopment. In doing so, it places various approaches to the definition, measurement, and understanding of “development” against the backdrop of broader sociological debates.

Schrank draws concrete examples from different regions and epochs to explore sociological thinking about development and underdevelopment informed by the latest currents in economic sociology. Across a series of chapters, he identifies relationships between mainstream and Marxist approaches to the study of international inequality; uses classical and contemporary social theory to develop a parsimonious typology of national development outcomes; addresses cross-border learning and diffusion in light of the latest developments in organization theory; considers the roles of religious, racial, and gender identities in the development process in different places and times; and portrays contemporary global challenges ‒ such as populism, pandemics, and climate change ‒ as distinctly sociological problems in need of multifaceted solutions. Enriched with expository figures, tables, and diagrams, this accessible book simultaneously distills and develops the sociological approach to the study of development and underdevelopment for both undergraduate and graduate students across the social sciences.

“A Theory of Despair Among U.S. College Students” by Joseph C. Hermanowicz in Current Perspectives in Social Theory

The author argues that contemporary college culture is predicated on hedonism indicated by a use of predominantly social time in which parties, alcohol, casual sex, and lax academics pervade students’ experiences. Coincident with this culture, however, is a deleterious pattern among students that has developed dramatically: their compromised mental health. The situation presents an apparent paradox: why are many students suffering when enveloped by fun? This chapter draws a connection between fun and suffering by treating each as conditions that spring from the sociohistorical context that situates institutions of higher education. In so doing, a theory is set forth to explain why despair is rendered applicable and how it is institutionally installed in the minds of modern-day college students.

New Publication: Precarious Employment and Well-Being During the COVID-19 Pandemic

A special issue of Work and Occupations on “Precarious Employment and Well-Being During the COVID-19 Pandemic”—co-guest edited by Quan Mai, Lijun Song, and Rachel Donnelly—has been published in the February, 2023 issue. The two-part special issue grew out of an international conference sponsored by Work and Occupations and Vanderbilt and Rutgers Universities and appears in the February, 2023 and May, 2023 issues of the journal. Click here for the table of contents of the February, 2023 issue

New Publication: Inequality and the Status Window: Inequality, Conflict, and the Salience of Status Differences in Conflicts over Resources

New Publication by Kevin T. Leicht at RSF: The Russell Sage Foundation Journal of the Social Sciences

Read the article here.

Abstract The study of the relationship between social status and inequality has a distinguished history. Inequality scholars outside this tradition have paid more attention to social status in response to a set of seemingly persistent paradoxes that defy easy explanation. I add to the tradition by developing the concept of status windows and status windows overlap to partially account for differences in the relationship between social status and inequality processes in low- and high-inequality environments. These concepts are tied to the functioning of social status in creating and maintaining inequality and to the characteristics of social networks that develop in (especially) high-inequality environments. I examine how the concepts of status windows and status window overlap can help explain some paradoxes in responses to heightened social inequality and recommend that research focus on understandings of status windows and status windows overlap to understand why social inequality continues unabated in some places.

New Publication: Within-job gender pay inequality in 15 countries

Led by Andrew Penner, the Comparative Organizational Inequality Network (COIN) has published a paper in Nature, Human Behaviour  that compares gender pay gaps and their firm, occupation, job segregation components and within job pay gaps using administrative data for fifteen countries. 

Read the article here.

Abstract Extant research on the gender pay gap suggests that men and women who do the same work for the same employer receive similar pay, so that processes sorting people into jobs are thought to account for the vast majority of the pay gap. Data that can identify women and men who do the same work for the same employer are rare, and research informing this crucial aspect of gender differences in pay is several decades old and from a limited number of countries. Here, using recent linked employer–employee data from 15 countries, we show that the processes sorting people into different jobs account for substantially less of the gender pay differences than was previously believed and that within-job pay differences remain consequential.

Announcement: Diane Vaughan’s “Dead Reckoning: Air Traffic Control, System Effects, and Risk” (Chicago, 2021) has been selected for the 2023 American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics Gardner-Lasser Aeronautics and Astronautics History Literature Award.

Dead Reckoning is an historical ethnography covering the life course of the air traffic control system from system emergence through 2017. Based on archival research and field work in four air traffic control facilities, the book focuses on how historical conditions, social actors, and events in the system’s institutional environment – political, economic, technological, cultural – impact the air traffic organization, changing it, and how in turn those changes affect not only the social, technological, and material arrangements of the workplace, but also controllers’  interpretive work, cultural understandings, and work practices. Far from a top-down model, controllers – the workers at the bottom of the hierarchy – respond to these events, making repairs that supply organizational resilience. Building on work on institutional logics, boundaries and boundary work, culture and cognition, and expertise, the case demonstrates the connection between institutional change, agency, and persistence over the life course.

New Publication: Effort in absence: Technologically mediated aesthetic experiences of the culture industries’ routine workers

Greetings OOW members!

Today we are sharing a new publication from Michael Siciliano.

CITATION: Siciliano, Michael L. 2022. “Effort in absence: Technologically mediated aesthetic experiences of the culture industries’ routine workers.” Ethnography


In this article, I draw upon 20 months of participant observation to compare the labor processes of routine, office staff in the popular music and digital content industries in the U.S. In both cases, workers play a game of disappearing, pursuing immersive experiences in their efforts to be more productive. These pleasurably immersive experiences vis-à-vis technology described by informants bear a similarity to aesthetic experiences typically associated with art objects. Comparing how workers describe their aesthetic experiences, I show how the materiality of technology as well as management mediate workers’ immersion. In doing so, this article extends theories of control over work by highlighting the importance of work’s affective and aesthetic dimensions while also making an empirical contribution by examining the culture industries’ often overlooked, routine workers in conventional and platformized contexts.

New Publication: Deciding between Domains: How Borrowers Weigh Market and Interpersonal Options

Hi OOW members! Today we’re sharing a new article from Rourke O’Brien, Adam Hayes, and Barbara Kiviat:


O’Brien R, Hayes A, Kiviat B. Deciding between Domains: How Borrowers Weigh Market and Interpersonal Options. Social Psychology Quarterly. August 2022. doi:10.1177/01902725221108964


Individuals routinely satisfy borrowing needs by transacting in the market or by relying on social relations. In the market domain, price logic leads borrowers to choose the cheaper option; in the interpersonal domain, role-matching logic leads borrowers to choose the relation best matched to the act. But how do individuals choose when faced with options from each domain? Drawing on theories in economic sociology that assert the economic and the social are mutually constitutive, we posit that when market and interpersonal options appear in the same choice set, the characteristics of one option inflect how people assess the other. Through two survey experiments, we show that price sensitivity toward the market option is less when the interpersonal option is role mismatched and that concerns about interpersonal borrowing changing or damaging the relationship attenuate when the market option is expensive. We discuss the implications for studies of stratification and financial decision-making.

New Publication: Workplace Well-being: Shifting from an Individual to an Organizational Framework

Hi OOW Members! Today we’re sharing a new article by Annika Wilcox and Amanda Koontz:


Wilcox, Annika and Amanda Koontz. “Workplace Well-being: Shifting from an Individual to an Organizational Framework.” Sociology Compass e13035.


Well-being (or lack thereof) is one phenomena that is shaped by and has important implications for organizational (in)equalities, yet remains widely conceptualized at an individual level. Through a review of previous research on organizational inequality and diversity, we argue for a shift towards studying “workplace well-being”—well-being as created by and through work organizations. We identify and discuss three pillars of workplace well-being and consider how these pillars are constituted across three levels of analysis. We note that “workplace well-being” offers a more theoretically- and empirically-grounded framework for understanding how well-being operates in the workplace. This concept can be utilized to “check” where organizational change is needed and develop change initiatives that better support diversity, inclusivity, and equity.

The argument is summarized for a general audience in this accompanying blog post.

New Publication: Preventing Soft Skill Decay among Early-Career Women in STEM during COVID-19: Evidence from a Longitudinal Intervention

Greetings, OOW Members! Today we are sharing a new article by Julia Melin and Shelley J. Correll.

Melin, Julia L., and Shelley J. Correll. “Preventing Soft Skill Decay among Early-Career Women in STEM during COVID-19: Evidence from a Longitudinal Intervention.” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 119, no. 32 (August 9, 2022): e2123105119.


As the workforce shifts to being predominantly hybrid and remote, how can companies help employees—particularly early-career women in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields—develop greater confidence in their soft skills, shown to improve organizational retention? We evaluate the effects of an online longitudinal intervention to develop soft skills among early-career women employees at a North American biotechnology company during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. Controlling for baseline levels collected immediately prior to nationwide lockdowns, we find that a 6-month online intervention increased early-career women’s assessments of their soft skills at work by an average of 9% (P < 0.001), compared with a decrease of about 3.5% for a matched control group (P < 0.05), resulting in an average treatment effect of nearly 13% on the treated group. Furthermore, we find evidence that the intervention led to an increase in manager-assessed performance for early-career women relative to employees not in the intervention, and that overall, increased self-assessments of soft skill competencies were associated with greater odds of retention. Results show how employee soft skill development was affected by the pandemic and provide insights for a feasible and cost-effective method to train and engage a hybrid or fully remote workforce.

New Publication: Parenting Without Predictability: Precarious Schedules, Parental Strain, and Work-Life Conflict.

Hi OOW Members! We are pleased to share a new article shared with us by OOW member Sigrid Luhr:


Luhr, Sigrid, Daniel Schneider, and Kristen Harknett. “Parenting Without Predictability: Precarious Schedules, Parental Strain, and Work-Life Conflict.” RSF: The Russell Sage Foundation Journal of the Social Sciences 8, no. 5 (August 2022): 24–44.


Against the backdrop of dramatic changes in work and family life, this article draws on survey data from 2,971 mothers working in the service sector to examine how unpredictable schedules are associated with three dimensions of parenting: difficulty arranging childcare, work-life conflict, and parenting stress. Results demonstrate that on-call shifts, shift timing changes, work hour volatility, and short advance notice of work schedules are positively associated with difficulty arranging childcare and work-life conflict. Mothers working these schedules are more likely to miss work. We consider how family structure and race moderate the relationship between schedule instability and these dimensions of parenting. Unstable work schedules, we argue, have important consequences for mothers working in the service industry.