Sociological Science: Recent Research

Market Transition Theory Revisited: Changing Regimes of Housing Inequality in China, 1988-2002

Xi Song, Yu Xie

Sociological Science, July 21, 2014
DOI 10.15195/v1.a18

Abstract

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This paper revisits the market transition theory of Nee (1989), using housing as an alternative to income as a measure of socioeconomic attainment. We argue that housing space is a better outcome variable by which to evaluate Nee’s market transition theory because it is a more consistent measure of socioeconomic success than income before and after the economic reform. Using three waves of a national household survey in 1988, 1995, and 2002, we compare temporal changes in the role of market and redistributive determinants for income and housing space. In support of a weak form of the theory, our results show that market determinants replaced redistributive determinants over time as the most significant predictors of housing space. In contrast, parallel analyses of income show mixed results for market and redistributive determinants.

Xi Song: Department of Sociology, University of California, Los Angeles. E-mail: [email protected]

Yu Xie:   Department of Sociology, University of Michigan and Peking University. Email: [email protected]

  • Citation: Song, Xi and Yu Xie 2014. “Market Transition Theory Revisited: Changing Regimes of Housing Inequality in China, 1988-2002.” Sociological Science 1: 277-291.
  • Received: May 7, 2014
  • Accepted: June 3, 2014
  • Editors: Jesper Sorensen, Kim Weeden
  • DOI: 10.15195/v1.a18

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Friend Effects and Racial Disparities in Academic Achievement

Jennifer Flashman

Sociological Science, July 7, 2014
DOI 10.15195/v1.a17

Abstract

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Racial disparities in achievement are a persistent fact of the US educational system. An often cited but rarely directly studied explanation for these disparities is that adolescents from different racial and ethnic backgrounds are exposed to different peers and have different friends. In this article I identify the impact of friends on racial and ethnic achievement disparities. Using data from Add Health and an instrumental variable approach, I show that the achievement characteristics of youths’ friends drive friend effects; adolescents with friends with higher grades are more likely to increase their grades compared to those with lower-achieving friends. Although these effects do not differ across race/ethnicity, given differences in friendship patterns, if black and Latino adolescents had friends with the achievement characteristics of white students, the GPA gap would be 17 to 19 percent smaller. Although modest, this effect represents an important and often overlooked source of difference among black and Latino youth.

Jennifer Flashman: Center for Research on Educational Opportunity, University of Notre Dame. E-mail: [email protected]

  • Citation: Jennifer Flashman. 2014. “Friend Effects and Racial Disparities in Academic Achievement.” Sociological Science 1: 260-276.
  • Received: March 27, 2014
  • Accepted: April 29, 2014
  • Editors: Jesper Sorensen, Stephen L. Morgan
  • DOI: 10.15195/v1.a17

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When Forecasts Fail: Unpredictability in Israeli-Palestinian Interaction

Charles Kurzman, Aseem Hasnain

Sociological Science, June 23, 2014
DOI 10.15195/v1.a16

Abstract

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This article explores the paradox that forecasts may be most likely to fail during dramatic moments of historic change that social scientists are most eager to predict. It distinguishes among four types of shocks that can undermine the predictive power of time series analyses: effect shocks that change the size of the causal effect; input shocks that change the causal variables; duration shocks that change how long a causal effect lasts; and actor shocks that change the number of agents in the system. The significance of these shocks is illustrated in Israeli–Palestinian interactions, one of the contemporary world’s most intensely scrutinized episodes, using vector autogression analyses of more than 15,000 Reuters news stories over the past three decades. The intervention of these shocks raises the prospect that some historic episodes may be unpredictable, even retrospectively.

Charles Kurzman: Department of Sociology, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. E-mail: [email protected]

Aseem Hasnain: Department of Sociology, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. E-mail: [email protected]

  • Citation:Kurzman, Charles and Aseem Hasnain. 2014. “When Forecasts Fail: Unpredictability in Israeli-Palestinian Interaction.” Sociological Science 1: 239-259.
  • Received: March 7, 2014
  • Accepted: April 23, 2014
  • Editors: Jesper Sorensen, Delia Baldassarri
  • DOI: 10.15195/v1.a16

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Finding Cultural Holes: How Structure and Culture Diverge in Networks of Scholarly Communication

Daril A. Vilhena, Jacob G. Foster, Martin Rosvall, Jevin D. West, James Evans, Carl T. Bergstrom

Sociological Science, June 9, 2014
DOI 10.15195/v1.a15

Abstract

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Divergent interests, expertise, and language form cultural barriers to communication. No formalism has been available to characterize these “cultural holes.” Here we use information theory to measure cultural holes and demonstrate our formalism in the context of scientific communication using papers from JSTOR. We extract scientific fields from the structure of citation flows and infer field-specific cultures by cataloging phrase frequencies in full text and measuring the relative efficiency of between-field communication. We then combine citation and cultural information in a novel topographic map of science, mapping citations to geographic distance and cultural holes to topography. By analyzing the full citation network, we find that communicative efficiency decays with citation distance in a field-specific way. These decay rates reveal hidden patterns of cohesion and fragmentation. For example, the ecological sciences are balkanized by jargon, whereas the social sciences are relatively integrated. Our results highlight the importance of enriching structural analyses with cultural data.

Daril A. Vilhena: Department of Biology, University of Washington. E-mail: [email protected]

Jacob G. Foster: Department of Sociology, University of California-Los Angeles. E-mail: [email protected]

Martin Rosvall: Department of Physics,University of Umea. E-mail: [email protected]

Jevin D. West: Information School, University of Washington. E-mail: [email protected]

James Evans: Department of Sociology, University of Chicago. E-mail: [email protected]

Carl T. Bergstrom: Department of Biology, University of Washington. E-mail: [email protected]

  

  • Citation: Vilhena, Daril A., Jacob G. Foster, Martin Rosvall, Jevin D. West, James Evans, and Carl T. Bergstrom. 2014. “Finding Cultural Holes: How Structure and Culture Diverge in Networks of Scholarly Communication.” Sociological Science 1: 221-238.
  • Received: December 20, 2013
  • Accepted: February 8, 2014
  • Editors: Jesper Sorensen, Delia Baldassarri
  • DOI: 10.15195/v1.a15

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High Stakes in the Classroom, High Stakes on the Street: The Effects of Community Violence on Student’s Standardized Test Performance

Patrick Sharkey, Amy Ellen Schwartz, Ingrid Gould Ellen, Johanna Lacoe

Sociological Science, May 27, 2014
DOI 10.15195/v1.a14

Abstract

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This article examines the effect of exposure to violent crime on students’ standardized test performance among a sample of students in New York City public schools. To identify the effect of exposure to community violence on children’s test scores, we compare students exposed to an incident of violent crime on their own blockface in the week prior to the exam to students exposed in the week after the exam. The results show that such exposure to violent crime reduces performance on English language arts assessments and has no effect on math scores. The effect of exposure to violent crime is most pronounced among African Americans and reduces the passing rates of black students by approximately 3 percentage points.

Patrick Sharkey: Department of Sociology, New York University.
E-mail: [email protected]

Amy Ellen Schwartz: Robert F. Wagner School of Public Service, New York University.
E-mail: [email protected]

Ingrid Gould Ellen: Robert F. Wagner School of Public Service, New York University.
E-mail: [email protected]

Johanna Lacoe: Price School of Public Policy, University of Southern California.
Email: [email protected]

  

  • Citation: Sharkey, Patrick, Amy Ellen Schwartz, Ingrid Gould Ellen, and Johanna Lacoe. 2014. “High stakes in the classroom, high stakes on the street: The effects of community violence on students’ standardized test performance.” Sociological Science 1: 199-220.
  • Received: October 29, 2013
  • Accepted: December 20, 2013
  • Editors: Jesper Sorensen, Stephen L. Morgan
  • DOI: 10.15195/v1.a14

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Asymmetries in Experiential and Vicarious Feedback: Lessons from the Hiring and Firing of Baseball Managers

David Strang, Kelly Patterson

Sociological Science, May 12, 2014
DOI 10.15195/v1.a13

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We examine experiential and vicarious feedback in the hiring and firing of baseball managers. Realized outcomes play a large role in both decisions; the probability that a manager will be fired is a function of the team’s win–loss record, and a manager is quicker to be rehired if his teams had won more in the past. There are substantial asymmetries, however, in the fine structure of the two feedback functions. The rate at which managers are fired is powerfully shaped by recent outcomes, falls with success and rises with failure, and adjusts for history-based expectations. By contrast, hiring reflects a longer-term perspective that emphasizes outcomes over the manager’s career as well as the most recent campaign, rewards success but does not penalize failure, and exhibits no adjustment for historical expectations. We explain these asymmetries in terms of the disparate displays of rationality that organizations enact in response to their own outcomes versus those of others. Experiential feedback is conditioned by a logic of accountability, vicarious feedback by a logic of emulation.

David Strang: Cornell University. E-mail: [email protected]

Kelly Patterson: University of Southern California. E-mail: [email protected]

 

  • Citation: Strang, David and Kelly Patterson. 2014. “Asymmetries in Experiential and Vicarious Feedback: Lessons from the Hiring and Firing of Baseball Managers.” Sociological Science 1: 178-198.
  • Received: October 9, 2013
  • Accepted: October 14, 2013
  • Editors: Jesper Sorensen, Olav Sorenson
  • DOI: 10.15195/v1.a13

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