American Sociological Association

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  1. Great Equalizer or Great Selector? Reconsidering Education as a Moderator of Intergenerational Transmissions

    A long-standing consensus among sociologists holds that educational attainment has an equalizing effect that increases mobility by moderating other avenues of intergenerational status transmission. This study argues that the evidence supporting this consensus may be distorted by two problems: measurement error in parents’ socioeconomic standing and the educational system’s tendency to progressively select people predisposed for mobility rather than to actually affect mobility.

  2. The Intergenerational Elasticity of What? The Case for Redefining the Workhorse Measure of Economic Mobility

    The intergenerational elasticity (IGE) has been assumed to refer to the expectation of children’s income when in fact it pertains to the geometric mean of children’s income. We show that mobility analyses based on the conventional IGE have been widely misinterpreted, are subject to selection bias, and cannot disentangle the different channels for transmitting economic status across generations. The solution to these problems—estimating the IGE of expected income or earnings—returns the field to what it has long meant to estimate.

  3. Soldiers to Scientists: Military Service, Gender, and STEM Degree Earning

    The authors use 2014–2018 data from the American Community Survey to answer two questions: To what extent is military service associated with higher rates of earning a bachelor’s degree in a science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) field (vs. a non-STEM field)? To what extent is this relationship gendered? The findings suggest that military service is associated with higher odds of completing a STEM degree and that this association is particularly strong for female veterans.

  4. First-Birth Timing and the Motherhood Wage Gap in 140 Occupations

    Is delayed fertility associated with a reduced motherhood wage gap in all occupations? Using multilevel models and data from the 2011–2015 American Community Survey, O*NET, and the Current Population Survey, I examine whether delayed fertility is associated with a reduced motherhood wage gap in 140 occupations. Delayed childbearing is one strategy women use to mitigate the motherhood wage penalty. Findings indicate that mothers in high-earning professional occupations experienced the largest wage penalties with early motherhood but also the largest premiums with delayed childbearing.

  5. The Educational System and the Ethnic Skills Gap among the Working-Age Population: An Analysis of 16 Western Immigration Countries

    Research shows that children of immigrants, the “second generation,” have comparatively high educational aspirations. This “immigrant optimism” translates into ambitious educational choices, given the second generation’s level of academic performance. Choice-driven (comprehensive) education systems, which allow the children of immigrants to follow their ambitions, are therefore regarded as facilitating their structural integration. The authors focus on an underappreciated consequence of these findings.

  6. The Complexities of Race and Place: Childhood Neighborhood Disadvantage and Adult Incarceration for Whites, Blacks, and Latinos

    The author uses restricted geocoded tract-level panel data (1986–2014) that span the prison boom and the acceleration of residential segregation in the United States from two cohorts of the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth (1979 and Children and Young Adults) to study whether the association between childhood neighborhood disadvantage and adult incarceration varies by race and ethnicity. Sibling fixed-effects models suggest that exposure to childhood neighborhood disadvantage increases the likelihood of incarceration in adulthood, net of observed and unobserved adjustments.

  7. A Penny on the Dollar: Racial Inequalities in Wealth among Households with Children

    The dynamics of racial/ethnic wealth inequality among U.S. families with resident children (child households) have been understudied, a major oversight because of wealth’s impact on child development and intergenerational mobility. Using data from the Survey of Consumer Finances (2004–2016), the authors find that wealth gaps between black and white households are larger in, and have grown faster for, child households relative to the general population. In contrast, black-white income gaps for child households have remained largely unchanged.

  8. How Marriage Matters for the Intergenerational Mobility of Family Income: Heterogeneity by Gender, Life Course, and Birth Cohort

    Adult children’s labor market status and their type of marriage are major channels through which family advantages are passed from one generation to the next. However, these two routes are seldom studied together. We develop a theoretical approach to incorporate marriage entry and marital sorting into the intergenerational transmission of family income, accounting for differences between sons and daughters and considering education as a central explanatory factor.
  9. Cracking the Black Box: Capturing the Role of Expectation States in Status Processes

    A fundamental task for sociology is to uncover the mechanisms that produce and reproduce social inequalities. While status characteristics theory is the favored account of how social status contributes independently to the maintenance of inequality, it hinges on an unobserved construct, expectation states, in the middle of the causal chain between status and behavior. Efforts to test the mediation mechanism have been complicated by the implicit, often unconscious, nature of status expectations.
  10. Medical Authority under Siege: How Clinicians Transform Patient Resistance into Acceptance

    Over the past decades, professional medical authority has been transformed due to internal and external pressures, including weakened institutional support and patient-centered care. Today’s patients are more likely to resist treatment recommendations. We examine how patient resistance to treatment recommendations indexes the strength of contemporary professional authority. Using conversation analytic methods, we analyze 39 video recordings of patient-clinician encounters involving pediatric epilepsy patients in which parents resist recommended treatments.