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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. 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.

  3. Brokers and the Earnings of Female Sex Workers in India

    This study examines whether working with a broker increases or reduces the payment received for the last client among female sex workers. Building on research on the informal economy and sex work, we formulate a positive embeddedness hypothesis, expecting a positive association, and an exploitation hypothesis, expecting a negative association. We analyze a large survey combined with intensive interview data on female sex workers in Andhra Pradesh, India. These data uniquely distinguish between the amount the sex worker actually received and the amount the client paid.

  4. Effects of Heterogeneity and Homophily on Cooperation

    The article provides a micro-behavioral model and an experimental design to understand the effect of heterogeneity in social identities on cooperation while accounting for endogenous sorting. Social identity is induced exogenously using the minimal group paradigm. The experiment manipulates sorting with three treatments: having subjects interact with both in- and outgroup members, giving them the choice to interact either with ingroup or outgroup members, and isolating the groups from the outset.

  5. Understanding the Selection Bias: Social Network Processes and the Effect of Prejudice on the Avoidance of Outgroup Friends

    Research has found that prejudiced people avoid friendships with members of ethnic outgroups. Results of this study suggest that this effect is mediated by a social network process. Longitudinal network analysis of a three-wave panel study of 12- to 13-year-olds (N = 453) found that more prejudiced majority group members formed fewer intergroup friendships than less prejudiced majority group members. This was caused indirectly by the preference to become friends of one’s friends’ friends (triadic closure).

  6. Stopping the Drama: Gendered Influence in a Network Field Experiment

    Drawing on theories of social norms, we study the relative influence of female and male students using a year-long, network-based field experiment of an anti-harassment intervention program in a high school. A randomly selected subset of highly connected students participated in the intervention. We test whether these highly connected females and males influenced other students equally when students and teachers considered the problem of "drama"—peer conflict and harassment—to be associated with girls more than with boys.

  7. The Contingent Value of Embeddedness: Self-affirming Social Environments, Network Density, and Well-being

    Social capital theorists claim that belonging to a densely knit social network creates a shared identity, mutually beneficial exchange, trust, and a sense of belonging in that group. Taken together with the empirical research on the importance of social support and social integration for individuals’ well-being, there is reason to expect that the density of one’s personal social network should be positively related to well-being.

  8. 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.

  9. Student Accountability in Team-based Learning Classes

    Team-based learning (TBL) is a form of small-group learning that assumes stable teams promote accountability. Teamwork promotes communication among members; application exercises promote active learning. Students must prepare for each class; failure to do so harms their team’s performance. Therefore, TBL promotes accountability. As part of the course grade, students assess the performance of their teammates. The evaluation forces students to rank their teammates and to provide rationale for the highest and lowest rankings. These evaluations provide rich data on small-group dynamics.

  10. States With Punitive Justice Systems Have Higher Rates of Foster Care, Study Finds

    The number of children in foster care across the country is driven not solely by child abuse and neglect, but by states' varying politics and approaches to social problems, a new University of Washington (UW) study finds.

    States with more punitive criminal justice systems tend to remove children from their homes far more frequently than those with generous welfare programs — meaning that two states with similar rates of child abuse and neglect could have very different rates of foster care entry.