Research Interests: Gender, Family, Inequality

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I. Gender inequality in the labor force:

My primary research interest focuses on gender in the labor force, and I have several ongoing projects in this area. One project seeks to isolate the effect of gender on promotion to tenure in academia, net of differences in productivity and department context. I use an original dataset of publication, department, and institutional information to assess the likelihood of promotion to tenure in three academic fields. The results demonstrate that, net of publication productivity, there exist substantial gender differences in promotion rates among Sociology, English, and Computer Science assistant professors. 

My dissertation research focused on the consequences of employment lapses that are incurred after individuals temporarily "opt out" of work to care for family or children. Using an audit study, a series of survey experiments, and longitudinal employment data, I find that there are significant career implications - in terms of hiring prospects and future wages - associated with temporarily "opting out." 

II. Family demography:

While my dissertation focuses on gender inequality, I have a continued interest in sociology of the family and family demography. In a recent paper published in Social Forces, I examine how relative earnings within couples influence relationship stability among same-sex and heterosexual couples. Using the HCMST dataset, I provide an empirical test of two theories on the household: the neoclassical economic theory of specialization, and the doing gender theory. I demonstrate that equal earnings promotes stability among same-sex couples, while it increases the likelihood of dissolution for heterosexual couples. In the paper I argue that this different effect for same-sex couples relative to heterosexual couples implies that the effect of earnings equality is dependent upon gender norms in heterosexual relationships. When earnings power is disentangled from gender, as is the case of same-sex couples, equality in earnings promotes stability.

III. Economic Inequality:

I am also interested in economic inequality more generally, particularly income inequality and poverty. One collaborative project with Karen Jusko examines the responsiveness of poverty relief programs in the United States. We use a new measure of poverty relief to document trends temporally and geographically across states. We find that depending on the national and state-level poverty relief programs in place, the poor face very different levels of support from year-to-year and across U.S. states.