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  1. Study Finds EITC Bolsters Recipients’ Self-Respect While Helping Them Financially

    America's welfare state is quietly evolving from needs-based to an employment-based safety net that rewards working families and fuels dreams of a better life, indicates a new study led by a Michigan State University (MSU) scholar.

    The major reason: the little-known Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), a $65 billion federal tax-relief program for poor, working families. The program has been expanded dramatically during the past 25 years, while cash welfare has been sharply curtailed.

  2. What Does It Mean to Span Cultural Boundaries? Variety and Atypicality in Cultural Consumption

    We propose a synthesis of two lines of sociological research on boundary spanning in cultural production and consumption. One, research on cultural omnivorousness, analyzes choice by heterogeneous audiences facing an array of crisp cultural offerings. The other, research on categories in markets, analyzes reactions by homogeneous audiences to objects that vary in the degree to which they conform to categorical codes. We develop a model of heterogeneous audiences evaluating objects that vary in typicality.

  3. Through the Contested Terrain: Implementation of Downsizing Announcements by Large U.S. Firms, 1984 to 2005

    Since the 1980s, leading U.S. firms have announced massive downsizing plans in the name of maximizing shareholder value, but some observers are skeptical about how serious firms are in implementing these plans. Building on political theories of corporate governance, I examine how conflicts of interest and alignment among investors, workers, and top managers affect the implementation of announced downsizing plans.

  4. The Great and the Small: The Impact of Collective Action on the Evolution of Board Interlocks after the Panic of 1907

    Conventional research in organizational theory highlights the role of board interlocks in facilitating business collective action. In this article, I propose that business collective action affects the evolutionary path of interlock networks. In particular, large market players’ response after a collective action to the classic problem of the "exploitation" of the great by the small provides a mechanism for interlocks to evolve.

  5. Ripples of Fear: The Diffusion of a Bank Panic

    Community reactions against organizations can be driven by negative information spread through a diffusion process that is distinct from the diffusion of organizational practices. Bank panics offer a classic example of selective diffusion of negative information. Bank panics involve widespread bank runs, although a low proportion of banks experience a run. We develop theory on how organizational similarity, community similarity, and network proximity create selective diffusion paths for resistance against organizations.

  6. Interreligious Contact, Perceived Group Threat, and Perceived Discrimination: Predicting Negative Attitudes among Religious Minorities and Majorities in Indonesia

    This study examines the relationship between interreligious contact and negative attitudes toward the religious outgroup among minority Christians and majority Muslims in Indonesia. It answers two research questions: Does interreligious contact reduce negative outgroup attitudes equally for minority Christians and majority Muslims? Are mediation by perceived group threat and moderation by perceived discrimination equally important for religious minorities and majorities?

  7. Variation in the Protective Effect of Higher Education against Depression

    Numerous studies document that higher education is associated with a reduced likelihood of depression. The protective effects of higher education, however, are known to vary across population subgroups. This study tests competing theories for who is likely to obtain a greater protective benefit from a college degree against depression through an analysis of data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health and recently developed methods for analyzing heterogeneous treatment effects involving the use of propensity scores.

  8. Where Does Debt Fit in the Stress Process Model?

    This paper contrasts two money-related stressors—debt and economic hardship—and clarifies where debt fits into the stress process model. Debt may be a direct or indirect stressor, as something mediated by psychosocial resources, and may be a potential buffer, interacting with economic hardship. The analyses use data from a two-wave panel study of 1,463 adults. One way debt is distinct from economic hardship is that debt is more common among economically advantaged groups.

  9. Defining the State from within: Boundaries, Schemas, and Associational Policymaking

    A growing literature posits the importance of boundaries in structuring social systems. Yet sociologists have not adequately theorized one of the most fraught and consequential sites of boundary-making in contemporary life: the delineation of the official edges of the government—and, consequently, of state from society. This article addresses that gap by theorizing the mechanisms of state boundary formation. In so doing, we extend culturalist theories of the state by providing a more specific model of how the state-society boundary is produced.

  10. Markets, Nature, and Society: Embedding Economic & Environmental Sociology

    Social scientists have drawn on theories of embeddedness to explain the different ways legal, political, and cultural frameworks shape markets. Often overlooked, however, is how the materiality of nature also structures markets. In this article, I suggest that neo-Polanyian scholars, and economic sociologists more generally, should better engage in a historical sociology of concept formation to problematize the human exemptionalist paradigm their work upholds and recognize the role of nature in shaping markets and society.