American Sociological Association



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  1. Education, Health, and the Default American Lifestyle

    Education has a large and increasing impact on health in America. This paper examines one reason why. Education gives individuals the ability to override the default American lifestyle. The default lifestyle has three elements: displacing human energy with mechanical energy, displacing household food production with industrial food production, and displacing health maintenance with medical dependency. Too little physical activity and too much food produce imperceptibly accumulating pathologies.

  2. The Contribution of Smoking to Educational Gradients in U.S. Life Expectancy

    Researchers have documented widening educational gradients in mortality in the United States since the 1970s. While smoking has been proposed as a key explanation for this trend, no prior study has quantified the contribution of smoking to increasing education gaps in longevity.

  3. Educational Inequalities in Health Behaviors at Midlife: Is There a Role for Early-life Cognition?

    Education is a fundamental cause of social inequalities in health because it influences the distribution of resources, including money, knowledge, power, prestige, and beneficial social connections, that can be used in situ to influence health. Recent studies have highlighted early-life cognition as commonly indicating the propensity for educational attainment and determining health and age of mortality. Health behaviors provide a plausible mechanism linking both education and cognition to later-life health and mortality.

  4. The Sequencing of a College Degree during the Transition to Adulthood: Implications for Obesity

    In this study we consider the health implications of the sequencing of a college degree vis-à-vis familial roles during the transition to adulthood. We hypothesize that people who earned a college degree before assuming familial roles will have better health than people who earned a college degree afterwards. To test this hypothesis, we focus on obesity and use data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health.

  5. 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.

  6. 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).

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. New Horizontal Inequalities in German Higher Education? Social Selectivity of Studying Abroad between 1991 and 2012

    On the basis of theories of cultural reproduction and rational choice, we examine whether access to study-abroad opportunities is socially selective and whether this pattern changed during educational expansion. We test our hypotheses for Germany by combining student survey data and administrative data on higher education entry rates. We find that studying abroad was socially selective during the entire observation period. Selectivity increased between 1991 and 2003 and hardly changed thereafter. Unexpectedly, the expansion of higher education does not explain this development.

  10. School Racial Composition and Parental Choice: New Evidence on the Preferences of White Parents in the United States

    Racial segregation remains a persistent problem in U.S. schools. In this article, we examine how social psychological factors—in particular, individuals’ perceptions of schools with varying demographic characteristics—may contribute to the ongoing structural problem of school segregation. We investigate the effects of school racial composition and several nonracial school characteristics on white parents’ school enrollment decisions for their children as well as how racial stereotypes shape the school choice process.