American Sociological Association



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  1. The Object Economy: “Alternative” Banking in Chicago

    In 2017, more than 22 percent of all U.S. households used an alternative financial service at least once. While fringe-banking enterprises mainly serve people with low or moderate incomes who lack access to more conventional banking services, pawnshops in particular also provide an important and distinct last resort for many customers.
  2. American Inequality in the Long Run

    Can this theory explain why inequality is growing in the United States? Piketty asserted that his theory was best tested with data from France, whose history was, he argued, “more typical and more pertinent for understanding the future” than the historical experience of the United States (p. 29). Nevertheless, and no doubt because Capital in the Twenty-First Century sold so many copies, some university publishers in recent years have been willing to gamble on big, dry books of historical inequality statistics that purport to test his arguments against American data.
  3. Exploiting Ambiguity: A Moral Polysemy Approach to Variation in Economic Practices

    Sociologists have shown that the relationships people establish between moral orientations and market practices vary considerably across historical, geographic, and institutional contexts. Less attention has been paid to situational variation in how the same actors moralize different economic goals, especially in their workplace. This article offers an account of situational variation by theorizing the implications of the ambiguity of moral values for economic activity.
  4. Do Carbon Prices Limit Economic Growth?

    The most common counterargument to taxing carbon emissions is that the policy has a negative impact on economic growth. The author tests the validity of this argument by visualizing the enactment of carbon prices on gross domestic product per capita from 1979 to 2018 and presenting a formal fixed-effects regression analysis of panel data. No connection is found between carbon price implementation and diminished economic growth. This outcome is primarily due to policy design and the general nature of economic growth.

  5. Liberal Individualism and the Globalization of Education as a Human Right: The Worldwide Decline of Early Tracking, 1960–2010

    This article examines global changes in tracking policies over the post–World War II period. Using a newly constructed quantitative panel data set of 139 countries from 1960 to 2010, I show that a majority of countries around the world have shifted away from sharply tracked institutions at the junior secondary level toward more formally “open” and “comprehensive” ones.
  6. Genes, Gender Inequality, and Educational Attainment

    Women’s opportunities have been profoundly altered over the past century by reductions in the social and structural constraints that limit women’s educational attainment. Do social constraints manifest as a suppressing influence on genetic indicators of potential, and if so, did equalizing opportunity mean equalizing the role of genetics? We address this with three cohort studies: the Wisconsin Longitudinal Study (WLS; birth years 1939 to 1940), the Health and Retirement Study, and the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health (Add Health; birth years 1975 to 1982).
  7. Why You Can’t Find That Nice Bottle of South African Wine

    South African wine producers are more successful in the American market when they partner with importers that know little about their wines. Ignorance is better than expertise, and leads to a handful of wineries being very successful in the market, while most barely make a splash.
  8. Comparing Theories of Resource Distribution: The Case of Iran

    This study addresses inequality through resource distribution in Iranian provinces with the use of new data collected and compiled from various sources using multilevel modeling. The models compare predictions of the various resource distribution theories using Iran’s 31 provincial budgets over 10 years. This resource distribution study provides a rare look at inequality in a country that, to a large degree, prohibits such examinations.
  9. The Relation between Inequality and Intergenerational Class Mobility in 39 Countries

    We study the relationship between inter-class inequality and intergenerational class mobility across 39 countries. Previous research on the relationship between economic inequality and class mobility remains inconclusive, as studies have confounded intra- with between-class economic inequalities. We propose that between-class inequality across multiple dimensions accounts for the inverse relationship between inequality and mobility: the larger the resource distance between classes, the less likely it is that mobility from one to the other will occur.
  10. The Moral Limits of Predictive Practices: The Case of Credit-Based Insurance Scores

    Corporations gather massive amounts of personal data to predict how individuals will behave so that they can profitably price goods and allocate resources. This article investigates the moral foundations of such increasingly prevalent market practices. I leverage the case of credit scores in car insurance pricing—an early and controversial use of algorithmic prediction in the U.S. consumer economy—to unpack the premise that predictive data are fair to use and to understand the conditions under which people are likely to challenge that moral logic.