Web Spotlight

Man in suit and woman in wedding dress walk through snow, with backs to the camera

How work, gender norms, and money shape the risk of divorce

February 1, 2017

Through the second half of the 20th century, American women participated in the labor force at increasing rates. Divorce rates also rose rapidly in the 1960s and 1970s, raising concerns that the trends were related: perhaps marriages became less stable because women were no longer dependent on men for their financial well-being.

But women’s economic independence from their husbands isn’t the only way that money, work,… Read more about How work, gender norms, and money shape the risk of divorce

Ya-Wen Lei stands in front of a wood and glass doorway

The Contentious Public Sphere: Law, Media, and Authoritarian Rule in China

January 5, 2017

Conventional wisdom imagines political life in authoritarian contexts to be bleak and suffocating, and popular understandings of China are no exception. Nonetheless, since the mid-2000s, a nationwide contentious public sphere has developed in China—providing an unprecedented forum for Chinese citizens to influence the public agenda and demand government accountability.

The Chinese state has increasingly, if reluctantly, come to recognize this emergent public sphere as a force it must reckon with, but it is important not to overstate the stability or permanence of this political space… Read more about The Contentious Public Sphere: Law, Media, and Authoritarian Rule in China

Police Violence and Citizen Crime Reporting in the Black Community

October 11, 2016

In a new study, published in the current issue of the American Sociological Review, I investigate how publicized cases of police violence against unarmed black men — most prominently the 2004 beating of Frank Jude by white police officers in Milwaukee, Wisconsin — affected 911 calls in Milwaukee. Coauthored with fellow sociologists Andrew Papachristos (of Yale) and David S. Kirk (of Oxford),… Read more about Police Violence and Citizen Crime Reporting in the Black Community

Michele Lamont

Culture and Inequality through Various Prisms

September 1, 2016

This August, Michèle Lamont began a term as the 108th President of the American Sociological Association. This honor came with a number of responsibilities, including organizing the 2017 ASA Annual Meeting. She chose as a theme “Culture, Inequalities, and Social Inclusion across the Globe.” Participants can look forward to plenary sessions on topics such as “Dignity, Morality, and the Bridging of Group Boundaries,” “The Politics of Distribution and Recognition,” “The Pursuit of Inclusion through Law, Policies, and Narratives,” and much more.… Read more about Culture and Inequality through Various Prisms

Rethinking Age Period Cohort Models

Rethinking Age Period Cohort Models

May 31, 2016

No issue has been more contested in social science methodology than whether it is possible, with realistic assumptions, to estimate the separate effects of age, period, and cohort (APC) variables on social change. For example, over time the U.S. population has become increasingly alienated with the federal government. However, this could be due to a changing age distribution, period effects such as recessions, or cohort replacement with more recent birth cohorts being more alienated.

Because age, period, and cohort are linearly dependent (age = period – cohort), when we hold period… Read more about Rethinking Age Period Cohort Models

Mary Brinton stands in front of a building on Harvard's Cambridge campus.

Gender Equity and Low Fertility in Postindustrial Societies

May 17, 2016

Progress towards gender equality was substantial on many fronts in the decades leading up to the 1990s. Since then, movement towards gender equality has slowed. The gender wage gap has narrowed at a slower pace in the past 20 years, and the same can be said for occupational sex segregation. Postindustrial societies show variation in these patterns and in the consequences that ensue. 

My work examines the normative and institutional causes of gender inequality in a comparative framework, and the relationship between gender inequality and demographic outcomes such as late marriage and… Read more about Gender Equity and Low Fertility in Postindustrial Societies

Headshot of Bart Bonikowski, Assistant Professor of Sociology.

Populist Politics and Nationalist Beliefs in Contemporary Democracies

March 8, 2016

In recent months, populist politics appealing to deep-seated nationalist sentiments have risen to prominence in American public discourse. This trend has been primarily reflected in Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, but its echoes can also be found in the rhetoric of other Republican presidential candidates. Political scientists, journalists, and politicians have been caught off guard by this seemingly sudden shift in U.S. political discourse and its resonance with a large plurality of voters in the Republican primary. Yet, similar developments have been unfolding in European politics… Read more about Populist Politics and Nationalist Beliefs in Contemporary Democracies

Race, Self-Selection, and the Job Search Process

Race, Self-Selection, and the Job Search Process

January 20, 2016

Discrimination in hiring continues to limit the opportunities available to racial minorities. How do job seekers respond to this reality? Some argue that job seekers tailor their searches in ways that allow them to avoid discrimination. Others suggest that job seekers adapt by casting a wider net in their search. Until now, we have known little about this process, largely because no existing data source has closely followed individuals through their job search.

In new research, recently published in the American Journal of Sociology (with David Pedulla), we attempt to… Read more about Race, Self-Selection, and the Job Search Process

Salvadoran Mothers Incarcerated for Stillbirths

Salvadoran Mothers Incarcerated for Stillbirths

September 14, 2015

Between 1989 and 2009, six Latin American nations passed total abortion bans.  Women in these countries are now denied abortions under every circumstance, even when a pregnancy may put their lives at risk.  In El Salvador, the passage of a total abortion ban was additionally followed by a steep rise in the incarceration of women for the “aggravated homicide” of their “newborns,” often with 30-40 year prison sentences.  Pro-life proponents argue vociferously that these extreme incarcerations are appropriate punishments for women who birthed healthy, full term babies and then killed them to… Read more about Salvadoran Mothers Incarcerated for Stillbirths