Author Archive | Blake Fisher

The Strength of Weak Ties in MBA Job Search: A Within–Person Test

Jason Greenberg, Roberto M. Fernandez

Sociological Science, May 18, 2016
DOI 10.15195/v3.a14


Whether and how social ties create value has inspired substantial research in organizational theory, sociology, and economics. Scholars generally believe that social ties impact labor market outcomes. Two explanatory mechanisms have been identified, emphasizing access to better job offers in pecuniary terms and the efficacy of non-redundant information. The evidence informing each theory, however, has been inconsistent and circumstantial. We test predictions from both models using a rich set of job search data collected from an MBA student population, including detailed information about search channels and characteristics of job offers. Importantly, we can compare offers made to the same student derived via different search channels while accounting for industry, function, and non-pecuniary characteristics. We find that contrary to conventional wisdom, search through social networks typically results in job offers with lower total compensation (-17 percent for referrals through strong ties and -16 percent for referrals via weak ties vs. formal search). However, our models also show that students are considerably more likely to accept offers derived via weak ties. They do so because they are perceived to have greater growth potential and other non-pecuniary value. On balance, our tests are consistent with Granovetter’s argument that networks provide value by facilitating access to information that is otherwise difficult to obtain, rather than providing greater pecuniary compensation.

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Jason Greenberg: Leonard N. Stern School of Business, New York University

Roberto M. Fernandez: MIT Sloan School of Management, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Acknowledgements: This paper was presented in a symposium at the annual American Sociological Association meeting honoring the fortieth anniversary of Mark Granovetter’s classic Getting a Job.We thank the organizing members of that symposium (Nina Bandelj and Emilio Castilla), co-panelists, and audience members for useful feedback. Thanks are also due audiences at Michigan-ICOS and NYU, Gino Cattani, and Mark Granovetter. All the usual disclaimers apply. Please send questions or comments to Jason Greenberg (

  • Citation: Jason Greenberg and Roberto M. Fernandez.  2016.“The Strength of Weak Ties in MBA Job Search:  A Within–Person Test.” Sociological Science 3: 296-316
  • Received: January 4, 2016
  • Accepted: January 27, 2016
  • Editors: Jesper Sørensen, Olav Sorenson
  • DOI: 10.15195/v3.a14

‘Membership Has Its Privileges’: Status Incentives and Categorical Inequality in Education

Thurston Domina, Andrew M. Penner, Emily K. Penner

Sociological Science, May 6, 2016
DOI 10.15195/v3.a13


Prizes – formal systems that publicly allocate rewards for exemplary behavior – play an increasingly important role in a wide array of social settings, including education. In this paper, we evaluate a prize system designed to boost achievement at two high schools by assigning students color-coded ID cards based on a previously low stakes test. Average student achievement on this test increased in the ID card schools beyond what one would expect from contemporaneous changes in neighboring schools. However, regression discontinuity analyses indicate that the program created new inequalities between students who received low-status and high-status ID cards. These findings indicate that status-based incentives create categorical inequalities between prize winners and others even as they reorient behavior toward the goals they reward.

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Thurston Domina: School of Education, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. Email:

Andrew M. Penner: Department of Sociology, University of California, Irvine.  Email:

Emily K. Penner: Center for Education Policy Analysis, Stanford University. Email:

Acknowledgements: Research reported in this article was supported by the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development of the National Institutes of Health under Award Numbers P01HD065704 and K01HD073319, by the Institute for Education Sciences under Award Number R305B130017, and by the Spencer Foundation under Award Number 201400180. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health, the Institute for Education Sciences, or the Spencer Foundation. The authors are grateful to Marianne Bitler, Thomas S. Dee, Ken Dodge, Greg Duncan, David Frank, Eric Grodsky, Andrew McEachin, Evan Schofer, Jeff Smith, and participants in the colloquia at Brown University and University of Wisconsin for useful comments and discussions.

  • Citation: Thurston Domina, Andrew M. Penner, and Emily K. Penner. 2016. “‘Membership Has Its Privileges’: Status Incentives and Categorical Inequality in Education.” Sociological Science 3: 264-295.
  • Received: June 23, 2015.
  • Accepted: August 17, 2015.
  • Editors: Olav Sorenson
  • DOI: 10.15195/v3.a13

Why is the Pack Persuasive? The Effect of Choice Status on Perceptions of Quality

Freda B. Lynn, Brent Simpson, Mark H. Walker, Colin Peterson

Sociological Science, April 8, 2016
DOI 10.15195/v3.a12


The logic of social proof and related arguments posits that decision makers interpret an actor’s sociometric position (such as popularity) as a signal for quality, especially when quality itself is difficult to ascertain. Although prior work shows that market-level behavioral patterns are consistent with this micro-level account, we seek to explicitly examine the extent to which (and the conditions under which) sociometric status information actually triggers assumptions about an actor’s underlying quality. We introduce two new web-based experiments to investigate how popularity impacts the selection of teammates. We find that the presence of popularity information creates a surprisingly robust quality halo around candidates in some situations but has no effect at all in others. Namely, consistent with Strang and Macy’s (2001) theory of adaptive emulation, choice status appears to affect quality perceptions as part of the rationalization for making attachments, but the halo disappears post-adoption. The implications of these results are discussed in the conclusion.

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Freda B. Lynn: Department of Sociology, University of Iowa  Email:

Brent Simpson: Department of Sociology, University of South Carolina Email:

Mark H. Walker: Department of Sociology, Louisiana State University E-mail:

Colin Peterson: Department of Sociology, Stanford University E-mail:

Acknowledgements: This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. 1058236. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation. We wish to thank Sarah Harkness and Michael Sauder for their helpful comments on study 1. An earlier version of this paper was presented at the annual Group Processes conference in 2014.

  • Citation: Freda B. Lynn, Brent Simpson, Mark H. Walker, and Colin Peterson. 2016. “Why is the Pack Persuasive? The Effect of Choice Status on Perceptions of Quality.” Sociological Science 3: 239-263.
  • Received: July 16, 2015.
  • Accepted: July 23, 2015.
  • Editors: Gabriel Rossman
  • DOI: 10.15195/v3.a12

Viral Altruism? Charitable Giving and Social Contagion in Online Networks

Nicola Lacetera, Mario Macis, Angelo Mele

Sociological Science, March 24, 2016
DOI 10.15195/v3.a11


How do social media affect the success of charitable campaigns? We show that, despite the promise of online platforms to generate social network effects in generosity through social contagion or peer effects, these platforms may instead stimulate costless (and less impactful) forms of involvement. Online social contagion might thus be limited when it comes to contributing real money to charities. This study relies on both individual-level longitudinal data and experimental evidence from a social media application that facilitates donations while broadcasting donors’ activities to their contacts. We find that broadcasting is positively associated with donations, although some individuals appear to opportunistically broadcast a pledge and then delete it. Furthermore, broadcasting a pledge is associated with more pledges by a user’s contacts, suggesting the presence of network effects or social contagion. However, results from a field experiment where broadcasting of the initial pledges was randomized suggest that the observational findings were likely due to homophily rather than genuine contagion effects. The experiment also shows that, although the campaigns reached approximately 6.4 million users and generated considerable attention in the form of clicks and “likes,” only 30 donations were made. Finally, an online survey experiment indicates that both the presence of an intermediary and a fee contributed to the low donation rate.

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Nicola Lacetera: Institute for Management and Innovation, University of Toronto  Email:

Mario Macis: Johns Hopkins University Email:

Angelo Mele: Johns Hopkins University  Email:

Acknowledgements: We thank Ehren Foss and Vanessa Swesnik at HelpAttack! and Casey Neese at Heifer International for their help and collaboration. We also thank Michael Price and participants at the ASSA Meetings in Philadelphia for useful comments. Financial support from the NET Institute ( and the Johns Hopkins Carey Business School Small Grants Program is acknowledged. The study was conducted with approvals from the Homewood Institutional Review Board at the Johns Hopkins University and from the Office for Research Ethics at the University of Toronto.

  • Citation: Lacetera, Nicola, Mario Macis and Angelo Mele. 2015. “Viral Altruism? Charitable Giving and Social Contagion in Online Networks.” Sociological Science 3: 202-238.
  • Received: September 10, 2015.
  • Accepted: October 8, 2015.
  • Editors: Jesper Sørensen, Delia Baldassarri
  • DOI: 10.15195/v3.a11

Can Incarceration Really Strip People of Racial Privilege?

Lance Hannon, Robert Defina

Sociological Science, March 18, 2016
DOI 10.15195/v3.a10


We replicate and reexamine Saperstein and Penner’s prominent 2010 study which asks whether incarceration changes the probability that an individual will be seen as black or white (regardless of the individual’s phenotype). Our reexamination shows that only a small part of their empirical analysis is suitable for addressing this question (the fixed-effects estimates), and that these results are extremely fragile. Using data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth, we find that being interviewed in jail/prison does not increase the survey respondent’s likelihood of being classified as black, and avoiding incarceration during the survey period does not increase a person’s chances of being seen as white. We conclude that the empirical component of Saperstein and Penner’s work needs to be reconsidered and new methods for testing their thesis should be investigated. The data are provided for other researchers to explore.

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Lance Hannon: Department of Sociology, Villanova University. Email:

Robert DeFina: Department of Sociology, Villanova University.  Email:

  • Citation: Lance Hannon and Robert DeFina. 2015. “Can Incarceration Really Strip People of Racial Privilege?” Sociological Science 3: 190-201.
  • Received: October 16, 2015.
  • Accepted: November 28, 2015.
  • Editors: Jesper Sørensen, Kim Weeden
  • DOI: 10.15195/v3.a10

Disaster, Disruption to Family Life, and Intimate Partner Violence: The Case of the 2010 Earthquake in Haiti

Abigail Weitzman, Julia Andrea Behrman

Sociological Science, March 7, 2016
DOI 10.15195/v3.a9


Natural disasters have inherently social dimensions because they exacerbate preexisting inequalities and disrupt social norms and institutions. Despite a growing interest in the sociological aspects of disasters, few studies have quantitatively explored how disasters alter intrahousehold family dynamics. In this article, we develop and test a conceptual framework that explicates how natural disasters affect an important component of family life: intimate partner violence (IPV). We combine two waves of geocoded Demographic and Health Surveys data, collected before and after the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, with spatial data on variation in the earthquake’s destruction. Our findings indicate that exposure to earthquake devastation increased the probability of both physical and sexual IPV one to two years following the disaster. These increases were accompanied by substantial changes in family functioning, the household economy, and women’s access to their social networks. Select household-level experiences during and after the earthquake, such as displacement, were also positively associated with IPV. These findings provide new insights into the multidimensional effects of disasters on family life and have important theoretical and policy implications that extend beyond the particular case of Haiti.

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Abigail Weitzman: Population Studies Center, University of Michigan  Email:

Julia Andrea Behrman: New York University  Email:

Acknowledgements: This research was made possible with the generous support of the National Science Foundation (grant 2011117755) and theWilliam and Flora Hewlett Foundation/International Institute for Education (grant 2012-7263). Background support was also provided by the grant “Team 1000+ Saving Brain: Economic Impact of Poverty-Related Risk Factors for Cognitive Development and Human Capital” 0072-03 provided to the grantee, the Trustees of the University of Pennsylvania, by Grand Challenges Canada. We are grateful to Paula England, Jere Behrman, and Dalton Conley for their invaluable feedback on this research. We are also grateful to Himanshu Mistry and New York University’s Data Service Studio for assisting us in our spatial analyses.

  • Citation: Weitzman, Abigail and Julia Andrea Behrman. 2016. “Disaster, Disruption to Family Life, and Intimate Partner Violence: The Case of the 2010 .” Sociological Science 3: 167-189.
  • Received: December 3, 2015.
  • Accepted: December 31, 2015.
  • Editors: Jesper Sørensen, Olav Sorenson
  • DOI: 10.15195/v3.a9



The Fragmented Evolution of Racial Integration since the Civil Rights Movement

Michael D.M. Bader, Siri Warkentien

Sociological Science, March 2, 2016
DOI 10.15195/v3.a8


We argue that existing studies underestimate the degree to which racial change leads to residential segregation in post-Civil Rights American neighborhoods. This is because previous studies only measure the presence of racial groups in neighborhoods, not the degree of integration among those groups. As a result, those studies do not detect gradual racial succession that ends in racially segregated neighborhoods. We demonstrate how a new approach based on growth mixture models can be used to identify patterns of racial change that distinguish between durable integration and gradual racial succession. We use this approach to identify common trajectories of neighborhood racial change among blacks, whites, Latinos, and Asians from 1970 to 2010 in the New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, and Houston metropolitan areas. We show that many nominally integrated neighborhoods have experienced gradual succession. For blacks, this succession has caused the gradual concentric diffusion of the ghetto; in contrast, Latino and Asian growth has dispersed throughout both cities and suburbs in the metropolitan areas. Durable integration has come about largely in the suburbs.

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Michael D.M. Bader: Department of Sociology, American University  Email:

Siri Warkentien: Department of Sociology, Johns Hopkins University

  • Citation: Bader, Michael D. M., and Siri Warkentien. 2016. “The Fragmented Evolution of Racial Integration since the Civil Rights Movement.” Sociological Science 3: 135-166.
  • Received: February 13, 2015.
  • Accepted: May 31, 2015.
  • Editors: Jesper Sørensen, Olav Sorenson
  • DOI: 10.15195/v3.a8

Life in a Crime Scene: Stop, Question, and Frisk Activity in New York City Neighborhoods in the Aftermath of Homicides

Johanna Lacoe, Patrick Sharkey

Sociological Science, February 24, 2016
DOI 10.15195/v3.a7


An incident of extreme violence, such as a homicide, disrupts daily life not only through the incident itself but also through the chaos and disruption that emerge in the aftermath of violence. This article presents descriptive evidence about how communities are affected by increased police activity—specifically, stop, question, and frisk (SQF) activity—following an incident of extreme violence. Our results show that SQF activity in a block group increases in the week following a homicide in New York City, with the largest increases in neighborhoods with high crime rates. Furthermore, neighborhoods with different racial and ethnic compositions have differential levels of average SQF activity and also experience differential responses from the police in the aftermath of a homicide. African American residents have a higher probability of being stopped following a homicide than do nonblack residents across neighborhoods of all types.

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Johanna Lacoe: Mathematica Policy Research  Email:

Patrick Sharkey: New York University Email:

  • Citation: Lacoe, Johanna and Patrick Sharkey. 2016. “Life in a Crime Scene: Stop, Question, and Frisk Activity in New York City Neighborhoods in the Aftermath of Homicides.” Sociological Science 3: 116-134.
  • Received: September 11, 2015.
  • Accepted: December 3, 2015.
  • Editors: Jesper Sørensen, Stephen Morgan
  • DOI: 10.15195/v3.a7

The Missing Main Effect of Welfare State Regimes: A Comment

David L. Weakliem

Sociological Science, February 17, 2016
DOI 10.15195/v3.a6


This article discusses Nate Breznau’s critique of Brooks and Manza’s “Social Policy Responsiveness in Developed Democracies.” Brooks and Manza found that public opinion influenced welfare state spending, but Breznau argued that this conclusion was an artifact of their model, which included an interaction between opinion and welfare state type but omitted the main effect of welfare state type. Breznau is correct in saying that interactions should not be used without including the main effect, except in rare circumstances which do not apply in this case. However, the classification of welfare state type is made partly on the basis of the dependent variable, welfare spending, so it should not be used as an independent variable. There is, however, a case for including a variable for the type of legal system (common law or civil law), which is correlated with welfare state type. The estimates from a regression including both main and interaction effects support Brooks’s and Manza’s original conclusions about the effect of public opinion. The paper concludes by discussing the strength of the evidence provided by the data.

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David L. Weakliem: Department of Sociology, University of Connecticut  Email:

  • Citation: David L. Weakliem. 2016. “The Missing Main Effect of Welfare State Regimes: A Comment”. Sociological Science 3: 109-115
  • Received: November 10, 2015
  • Accepted: December 2, 2015.
  • Editors: Jesper Sørensen, Stephen Morgan
  • DOI: 10.15195/v3.a6

The End of Symbolic Exclusion? The Rise of “Categorical Tolerance” in the Musical Tastes of Americans: 1993–2012

Omar Lizardo, Sara Skiles

Sociological Science, February 11, 2016
DOI 10.15195/v3.a5


In this article, we aim to contribute to recent work in the sociology of taste on the role of cultural dislikes as resources for symbolic exclusion and identity construction. We merge a new data set that replicates musical taste (patterns of likes and dislikes) items from the 1993 GSS with a new data source, resulting in the first repeated cross-section on patterns of likes and dislikes in the U.S. population. Our key finding is that there has been a dramatic shift in the way that people from the United States use cultural dislikes for purposes of symbolic exclusion: namely, the rise of a significant segment of the population that refuses to use culture for this purpose. To shed further light on this pattern, we deploy a statistical model that allows us to distinguish respondents who could have expressed dislikes but did not from those who were predisposed to not dislike any cultural form from the very beginning. The results show that the main drivers of the shift towards “refusing to dislike” are very likely cohort replacement and the increasing “browning” of the American population.

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Omar Lizardo: Department of Sociology, University of Notre Dame  Email:

Sara Skiles: Department of Sociology, University of Notre Dame Email:

Acknowledgements: This research was made possible by funding from NSF Doctoral Dissertation Improvement Grant (Award ID SES-1203426) awarded to the second author (with the first author as PI) and a University of Notre Dame Institute for Scholarship in Liberal Arts Graduate Student Research Award awarded to the second author.


  • Citation: Lizardo, Omar, and Sara Skiles. 2016. “The End of Symbolic Exclusion? The Rise of “Categorical Tolerance” in the Musical Tastes of Americans: 1993 – 2012.” Sociological Science 3: 85-108.
  • Received: July 26, 2015.
  • Accepted: August 3, 2015.
  • Editors: Jesper Sørensen, Gabriel Rossman
  • DOI: 10.15195/v3.a5