Book Launch: Coerced: Work Under Threat of Punishment

Please join us for a zoom discussion of Erin Hatton’s new book, Coerced: Work Under Threat of Punishment (University of California Press, 2020). 

Adia Harvey Wingfield (Washington University in St. Louis) and Victor Ray (University of Iowa) will share their brilliant takes on the book’s central question: What do incarcerated workers, workfare workers, student athletes, and graduate students have in common? 

Sept. 16, 2020 – 12pm Pacific// 2pm Central// 3pm Eastern (zoom link to follow) 

RSVP by Sept. 1st 

Member Publication: The Revolution That Wasn’t: How Digital Activism Favors Conservatives

Please check out the recent publication by OOW member Jen Schradie. 2020. The Revolution That Wasn’t: How Digital Activism Favors Conservatives. Harvard University Press.

Here is a short description of the book:

How do we make sense of this pendulum swing from digital utopianism of Facebook and Twitter revolutions to dystopianism Russian bots, political hacking, and fake news? The Revolution That Wasn’t: How Digital Activism Favors Conservatives (Harvard University Press), is sociologist Jen Schradie’s new book that contextualizes the online political landscape. WIRED Magazine chose The Revolution that Wasn’t as one of its top summer reads, noting“Schradie explains that, while Black Lives Matter and #MeToo capture headlines, it’s traditionally powerful conservative groups who have used digital tools to create tangible change. Hers may not be the internet culture take you want…but it’s likely the one you need.” Other news outlets, ranging from Newsweek and Vox to The Times Literary Supplement and Le Monde, have recommended the book to its readers. Academic critics have also sung its praises: Dave Karpf noted that the book is “both timely and important. The book offers a robust challenge to some of the bedrock assumptions that have motivated research on digital politics for the past decade or two…It is empirically rigorous, theoretically compelling, and beautifully written. I expect this is a book that will help shape the field for years to come.” Data & Society director danah boyd noted, “The Revolution That Wasn’t reveals the textured reality of contemporary activism, challenging widespread assumptions about technology’s role in social movements. Beautiful storytelling and grounded insights make this book a delightful and important read for anyone who is concerned about politics today.” According to Sidney Tarrow, “A pleasure to read, and packed with vibrant interactions with activists of both types, Schradie’s book will take the study of digital activism to a new level.” And Richard R. John noted in the Washington Monthly, “An “arresting thesis…While Schradie recognizes the quantitative dimension of online engagement, the primary strength of her book lies in her fine-grained ethnographic analysis of the ways in which left-leaning and right-leaning groups did, and did not, take advantage of digital media.” 

Member Publication: Mobilizing for Entitlement: A Randomised Evaluation of a Homestead Land Rights Initiative in Bihar, India

Please check out the recent publication by OOW members Andre Nickow and Sanjay Kumar. “Mobilizing for Entitlement: A Randomised Evaluation of a Homestead Land Rights Initiative in Bihar, India.” Journal of Development Studies (2020): 1-25.


Across much of India, potentially transformative development programs are hampered by barriers to implementation. A case in point is Bihar, a province of over 100 million inhabitants, where state law guarantees each otherwise landless rural household the right to hold title over a plot of homestead land. Yet most eligible Scheduled Caste (SC) households remain untitled. This article studies a social accountability program that established, trained, and mobilised village-level community-based organisations to assist SC households in obtaining homestead title. The study employs a mixed methods design in which a survey-based field experiment estimates program impact while analysis of data from qualitative fieldwork documents ground-level processes. Results indicate that the program strongly increased land security and access to government entitlements, moderately increased asset ownership and homestead satisfaction, and had a weak positive effect on food security. However, the main impact estimates do not show statistically significant treatment effects on investment in dwellings or homestead -based livelihood activities. The qualitative analysis suggests that a key mechanism by which the program improved entitlement access was enabling target households to circumvent rent-seeking intermediaries. Results contribute to development studies research on social accountability, government service delivery, and land rights.

Member Publication: Part-time by Gender, Not Choice: The Gender Gap in Involuntary Part-time Work

Please check out the recent publication by OOW members Corey Pech, Elizabeth Klainot-Hess, and Davon Norris. “Part-time by Gender, not Choice: The Gender Gap in Involuntary Part-Time Work,” Sociological Perspectives, Online First.


Gender inequality in the labor market is a key focus of stratification research. Increasingly, variation in hours worked separates men and women’s employment experiences. Though women often voluntarily work part-time at higher rates than men, involuntary part-time work is both analytically distinct from voluntary part-time work and leaves workers economically precarious. To date, researchers have not systematically investigated gender disparities in involuntary part-time work in the United States. Utilizing Current Population Survey data, we test for a gender gap in involuntary part-time work and evaluate two potential mechanisms: occupational segregation and penalties for care work. We find that women are much more likely than men to work in involuntary part-time positions. Occupational segregation and a care work penalty partially, but not fully, explain this gap. Findings extend existing theories of gender inequality in the workforce and show how an underresearched dimension of job quality creates gender stratification in the United States.

Member Publication: Stuck: Why Asian Americans Don’t Reach the Top of the Corporate Ladder

Please check out the forthcoming publication by OOW member Margaret M. Chin. 2020. Stuck: Why Asian Americans Don’t Reach the Top of the Corporate Ladder. New York: NYU Press. 

The book will be released on August 11, 2020. Here is a short description:

A behind-the-scenes examination of Asian Americans in the workplace 

In the classroom, Asian Americans, often singled out as so-called “model minorities,” are expected to be top of the class. Often they are, getting straight As and gaining admission to elite colleges and universities. But the corporate world is a different story. As Margaret M. Chin reveals in this important new book, many Asian Americans get stuck on the corporate ladder, never reaching the top. 

In Stuck, Chin shows that there is a “bamboo ceiling” in the workplace, describing a corporate world where racial and ethnic inequalities prevent upward mobility. Drawing on interviews with second-generation Asian Americans, she examines why they fail to advance as fast or as high as their colleagues, showing how they lose out on leadership positions, executive roles, and entry to the coveted boardroom suite over the course of their careers. An unfair lack of trust from their coworkers, absence of role models, sponsors and mentors, and for women, sexual harassment and prejudice especially born at the intersection of race and gender are only a few of the factors that hold Asian American professionals back. 

Ultimately, Chin sheds light on the experiences of Asian Americans in the workplace, providing insight into and a framework of who is and isn’t granted access into the upper echelons of American society, and why. 

Order online from the NYU Press website. Use promo code STUCK30 at checkout for 30% off and free shipping.

New Publication: Special Issue of Work and Occupations: Consequences of Change in Healthcare for Organizations, Workers, and Patients

Please check out the new Special Issue of Work and Occupations:

Consequences of Change in Healthcare for Organizations, Workers,
and Patients

Guest Editors: Ariel C. Avgar (Cornell University), Adrienne E. Eaton
(Rutgers University), Rebecca Kolins Givan (Rutgers University), and Adam Seth Litwin (Cornell University)

A pandemic of as yet unknown duration is changing the world. We do not know exactly how, but we can be certain this global crisis will upend governments and challenge the established social order. While the edifice of healthcare provision may well be transformed, institutions, relationships and path-dependent structures will determine precisely how this transpires and what system will emerge on the other side. While the research presented in this special issue was completed before the Covid-19 pandemic arrived, the articles all shed light on how healthcare organizations can and will respond to this unprecedented challenge. The current crisis has highlighted a host of shortcomings in existing employment models, training, incentives, use of technology, supply chains, funding and investment, and so much more. What is certain, though, is that healthcare systems and organizations must change. The articles in this special issue suggest the most appropriate direction of change. Centering the needs of employees generally and, more specifically, employee voice and professional expertise, quality care, and investment in healthcare provision itself rather than bureaucracy or administration related to payment systems will prove critical.

Menchik focuses on doctors’ (i.e., cardiologists’) adoption of a new robotic technology that mediates between the doctors’ hands and the patient. He develops a two-factor typology of individual approaches to adopting the new technology focused at one axis on the degree to which a doctor is influenced by their initial training and at the other, the influence from current colleagues. Also examining the link between work and technology, Wu compares the use of paper records to tablet computers for recording data on patient encounters by home health aides. Managers in the paper system mediated between the paper records created by direct care providers and the institutions’ official records; those in the tablet system are reduced to teaching and exhorting direct care workers to properly use their tablets. VanHeuvelen and Grace examine the move from a multi occupancy ward design to single-patient rooms. They find that occupational groups differed in their embrace or resistance to the change with some groups focused on the impact on patient care and others more on changes to working conditions. Wiedner et al. examine an explicit attempt to change occupational roles in the English National Health Service by shifting elements of budgetary responsibility from career managers to physicians. They find that tensions among occupational groups, rooted in their differing “dispositions,” can derail an attempt at change. Batt, Kallas, and
Appelbaum compare the labor relations approaches of employers in the healthcare systems in the upstate New York cities of Rochester and Buffalo. They argue that the different historical paths of industrial development in each city drove disparate labor relations approaches with one emphasizing a more positive, cooperative stance by management and the other more anti-union and hostile. In turn, they argue these approaches dictated the different paths healthcare employers in each city took in more recent restructuring.

Paying the Price for a Broken Healthcare System: Rethinking Employment, Labor, and Work in a Post-Pandemic World
Avgar, A., Eaton, A.E., Givan, R.K. and Litwin, A.S.

Occupational Heterogeneity in Healthcare Workers’ Misgivings about Organizational Change
VanHeuvelen, J.S. and Grace, M.K.

Moving From Adoption to Use: Physicians’ Mixed Commitments in Deciding to Use Robotic Technologies
Menchik, D.A.

GPs are from Mars, Administrators are from Venus: The Role of Misaligned Occupational Dispositions in Inhibiting Mandated Role Change
Wiedner, R., Nigam, A. & Bento da Silva, J.

From Timesheets to Tablets: Documentation Technology in Frontline Service Sector Managers’ Coordination of Home Healthcare Services
Wu, T.

Path Dependency Versus Social Unionism in Healthcare: Bringing Employers Back In
Batt, R., Kallas, J. & Appelbaum, E.

Member Publication: Elaborating on the Abstract: Group Meaning-Making in a Colombian Microsavings Program

Please check out the recent publications by OOW members Laura Doering, and Kristen McNeill. 2020. “Elaborating on the Abstract: Group Meaning-Making in a Colombian Microsavings Program.” American Sociological Review. Online First.


Access to formal financial products like savings accounts constitutes a hallmark feature of economic development, but individuals do not uniformly embrace these products. In explaining such financial preferences, scholars have focused on institutional, cultural, and material factors, but they have paid less attention to organizations and small groups. In this article, we argue that these factors are crucial to understanding financial preferences. We investigate a government-sponsored microsavings program in Colombia and find that participants became less interested in banking services over the course of the program, even as they gained access to appropriate accounts and their savings increased. Turning to qualitative data to understand this curious finding, we show that organizational efforts to disseminate abstract information about banking triggered a process of “elaboration” among group members, leading many to develop financial preferences at odds with those promoted by the government. This study integrates insights from economic sociology, organizational theory, and microsociology to advance theories of financial preference. In doing so, we reveal how organizational efforts to compress information, followed by group efforts to personalize and expand upon the information, can shape preferences and potentially undermine organizational goals.

Member Publications

Please check out the recent publications by OOW member Megan Tobias Neely:

2020. “The Portfolio Ideal Worker: Insecurity and Inequality in the New Economy.” Qualitative Sociology 43 (2).

2020. “Essential and Expendable: Gendered Labor in the Coronavirus Crisis.” Palo Alto: Clayman Institute for Gender Research, Stanford University.

2020. “What Will U.S. Labor Protections Look Like After Coronavirus?Harvard Business Review, April 2, 2020.

Member Publication: Crunch Time: How Married Couples Confront Unemployment

Please check out the recent publication by OOW member Aliya Hamid Rao. 2020. Crunch Time: How Married Couples Confront Unemployment. Oakland: University of California Press.

Here is a short description of the book:

In Crunch Time, Aliya Hamid Rao gets up close and personal with college-educated, unemployed men, women, and spouses to explain how comparable men and women have starkly different experiences of unemployment.

Traditionally gendered understandings of work—that it’s a requirement for men and optional for women—loom large in this process, even for marriages that had been not organized in gender-traditional ways. These beliefs serve to make men’s unemployment an urgent problem, while women’s unemployment—cocooned within a narrative of staying at home—is almost a non-issue. Crunch Time reveals the minutiae of how gendered norms and behaviors are actively maintained by spouses at a time when they could be dismantled, and how gender is central to the ways couples react to and make sense of unemployment.

Order online from the UC Press website and save 30% when you use source code 17M6662 at checkout.

Member Publication: National Family Policies and Mothers’ Employment: How Earnings Inequality Shapes Policy Effects across and within Countries

Please check out the recent publication by OOW members Jennifer L. Hook and Eunjeong Paek. 2020. “National Family Policies and Mothers’ Employment: How Earnings Inequality Shapes Policy Effects across and within Countries.” American Sociological Review. Online First.


Although researchers generally agree that national family policies play a role in shaping mothers’ employment, there is considerable debate about whether, how, and why policy effects vary across country contexts and within countries by mothers’ educational attainment. We hypothesize that family policies interact with national levels of earnings inequality to differentially affect mothers’ employment outcomes by educational attainment. We develop hypotheses about the two most commonly studied family policies—early childhood education and care (ECEC) and paid parental leave. We test these hypotheses by establishing a novel linkage between the EU-Labour Force Survey and the Current Population Survey 1999 to 2016 (n = 23 countries, 299 country-years, 1.2 million mothers of young children), combined with an original collection of country-year indicators. Using multilevel models, we find that ECEC spending is associated with a greater likelihood of maternal employment, but the association is strongest for non-college-educated mothers in high-inequality settings. The length of paid parental leave over six months is generally associated with a lower likelihood of maternal employment, but the association is most pronounced for mothers in high-inequality settings. We call for greater attention to the role of earnings inequality in shaping mothers’ employment and conditioning policy effects.