Author Archive | Blake Fisher

The Social Context of Racial Boundary Negotiations: Segregation, Hate Crime, and Hispanic Racial Identification in Metropolitan America

Michael T. Light, John Iceland

Sociological Science, February 08, 2016
DOI 10.15195/v3.a4

How the influx of Hispanics is reshaping the U.S. racial landscape is a paramount question in sociology. While previous research has noted the significant differences in Hispanics’ racial identifications from place to place, there are comparatively few empirical investigations explaining these contextual differences. We attempt to fill this gap by arguing that residential context sets the stage for racial boundary negotiations and that certain environments heighten the salience of inter-group boundaries. We test this argument by examining whether Hispanics who live in highly segregated areas and areas that experience greater levels of anti-Hispanic prejudice are more likely to opt out of the U.S. racial order by choosing the “other race” category in surveys. Using data from the American Community Survey and information on anti-Hispanic hate crimes from the FBI, we find support for these hypotheses. These findings widen the theoretical scope of the roles segregation and prejudice play in negotiating racial identifications, and have implications for the extent to which Hispanics may redefine the U.S. racial order.

Creative Commons LicenseThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
Michael T. Light: Purdue University.  Email:

John Iceland: Department of Sociology and Criminology, Pennsylvania State University. Email:

Acknowledgements: An earlier version of this paper was presented at the annual meeting for the Population Association of America in San Francisco in 2012. The authors thank Sal Oropesa for his helpful comments on an earlier draft of this paper. We also thank Andrew Raridon for his research assistance.


  • Citation: Michael T. Light and John Iceland. 2016. “The Social Context of Racial Boundary Negotiations: Segregation, Hate Crime, and Hispanic Racial Identification in Metropolitan America”. Sociological Science 3: 61-84.
  • Received: October 20, 2015.
  • Accepted: November 28, 2015.
  • Editors: Jesper Sørensen, Mario Small
  • DOI: 10.15195/v3.a4

How Much Scope for a Mobility Paradox? The Relationship between Social and Income Mobility in Sweden

Richard Breen, Carina Mood, Jan O. Jonsson

Sociological Science, February 4, 2016
DOI 10.15195/v3.a3

It is often pointed out that conclusions about intergenerational (parent–child) mobility can differ depending on whether we base them on studies of class or income. We analyze empirically the degree of overlap in income and social mobility; we demonstrate mathematically the nature of their relationship; and we show, using simulations, how intergenerational income correlations relate to relative social mobility rates. Analyzing Swedish longitudinal register data on the incomes and occupations of over 300,000 parent–child pairs, we find that social mobility accounts for up to 49 percent of the observed intergenerational income correlations. This figure is somewhat greater for a fine-graded micro-class classification than a five-class schema and somewhat greater for women than men. There is a positive relationship between intergenerational social fluidity and income correlations, but it is relatively weak. Our empirical results, and our simulations verify that the overlap between income mobility and social mobility leaves ample room for the two indicators to move in different directions over time or show diverse patterns across countries. We explain the circumstances in which income and social mobility will change together or co-vary positively and the circumstances in which they will diverge.

Creative Commons LicenseThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
Richard Breen: Nuffield College, Oxford University; Department of Sociology, Oxford University.  Email:

Carina Mood: Swedish Institute for Social Research, Stockholm University; Institute for Futures Studies.  Email:

Jan O. Jonsson: Nuffield College, Oxford university; Swedish Institute for Social Research, Stockholm University.  Email:

Acknowledgements: Thanks to participants at the RC28 meeting at the University of Virginia, August 2012, and particularly Mike Hout and Matt Lawrence, for comments on an earlier draft. Mood and Jonsson acknowledge financial support from the Swedish Council for Health, Working Life, and Welfare (FAS 2009-1320; FORTE 2012-1741) and from the Swedish Foundation for Humanities and Social Sciences (RJ P12-0636:1).


  • Citation: Breen, Richard, Carina Mood and Jan O. Jonsson. 2015. “How Much Scope for a Mobility Paradox? The Relationship between Social and Income Mobility in Sweden.” Sociological Science 3: 39-60.
  • Received: March 20, 2015.
  • Accepted: April 16, 2015.
  • Editors: Jesper Sørensen, Kim Weeden
  • DOI: 10.15195/v3.a3

Maternal Age and Infant Mortality for White, Black, and Mexican Mothers in the United States

Philip N. Cohen

Sociological Science, January 25, 2016
DOI 10.15195/v3.a2

This paper assesses the pattern of infant mortality by maternal age for white, black, and Mexican mothers using the 2013 Period Linked Birth/Infant Death Public Use File from the Centers for Disease Control. The results are consistent with the “weathering” hypothesis, which suggests that white women benefit from delayed childbearing while for black women early childbearing is adaptive because of deteriorating health status through the childbearing years. For white women, the risk (adjusted for covariates) of infant death is U-shaped—lowest in the early thirties—while for black women the risk increases linearly with age. Mexican-origin women show a J-shape, with highest risk at the oldest ages. The results underscore the need for understanding the relationship between maternal age and infant mortality in the context of unequal health experiences across race/ethnic groups in the US.

Creative Commons LicenseThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
Philip N. Cohen: University of Maryland, College Park.  Email:


  • Citation: Philip N. Cohen. 2016. “Maternal Age and Infant Mortality for White, Black, and Mexican Mothers in the United States”. Sociological Science 3: 32-38.
  • Received: November 17, 2015.
  • Accepted: December 31, 2015.
  • Editors: Jesper Sørensen, Kim Weeden
  • DOI: 10.15195/v3.a2

Unequal Hard Times: The Influence of the Great Recession on Gender Bias in Entrepreneurial Financing

Sarah Thébaud, Amanda J. Sharkey

Sociological Science, January 6, 2016
DOI 10.15195/v3.a1

Prior work finds mixed evidence of gender bias in lenders’ willingness to approve loans to entrepreneurs during normal macroeconomic conditions. However, various theories predict that gender bias is more likely to manifest when there is greater uncertainty or when decision-makers’ choices are under greater scrutiny from others. Such conditions characterized the lending market in the recent economic downturn. This article draws on an analysis of panel data from the Kauffman Firm Survey to investigate how the Great Recession affected the gender gap in entrepreneurial access to financing, net of individual and firm-level characteristics. Consistent with predictions, we find that women-led firms were significantly more likely than men-led firms to encounter difficulty in acquiring funding when small-business lending contracted in 2009 and 2010. We assess the consistency of our results with two different theories of bias or discrimination. Our findings shed light on mechanisms that may contribute to disadvantages for women entrepreneurs and, more broadly, highlight how the effects of ascribed status characteristics (e.g., gender) on economic decision-making may vary systematically with macroeconomic conditions.

Creative Commons LicenseThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
Sarah Thébaud: Department of Sociology, University of California, Santa Barbara.  Email:

Amanda J. Sharkey: Booth School of Business, University of Chicago.  Email:

Acknowledgments: This research was supported by a National Science Foundation Fellowship and the Center for the Study of Social Organization at Princeton University. We thank Paul DiMaggio, Heather Haveman, Michael Jensen, Johan Chu, Elizabeth Pontikes, Chris Yenkey, seminar participants at Cornell, the Kauffman Foundation, Princeton, and the University of Michigan, and Deputy Editor Olav Sorenson for helpful comments and feedback.

  • Citation: Thébaud, Sarah and Amanda J. Sharkey. 2016. “Unequal Hard Times: The Influence of the Great Recession on Gender Bias in Entrepreneurial Financing.” Sociological Science 3: 1-31.
  • Received: June 12, 2015.
  • Accepted: August 21, 2015.
  • Editors: Olav Sorenson
  • DOI: 10.15195/v3.a1

A Comparative Analysis of Corporate and Independent Foundations

Justin Koushyar, Wesley Longhofer, Peter W. Roberts

Sociological Science, December 15, 2015
DOI 10.15195/v2.a28

Notwithstanding some visible debates, systematic evidence about the implications of greater corporate involvement in the social sector is sparse. We provide some of this evidence by examining one channel of corporate influence within the nonprofit sector–company sponsorship of philanthropic foundations. Our analysis shows that corporate foundations raise more funds and distribute grants with lower overhead than similar independent (i.e., non-corporate) foundations. However, their grantmaking is also more dispersed and less relational, and they tend to be governed by more ephemeral groups of officers and trustees. These findings suggest that corporate foundations benefit from having access to the resources of the companies that sponsor them but are constrained by their additional market-based motivations. The findings also update and refine what nonprofits might expect from corporate foundations relative to their more traditional independent counterparts.
Justin Koushyar: Goizueta Business School, Emory University  Email:

Wesley Longhofer: Goizueta Business School, Emory University  Email:

Peter W. Roberts:  Goizueta Business School, Emory University  Email:

Acknowledgements: The authors thank Joe Galaskiewicz, Giacomo Negro, faculty at Georgia State University, and participants at the 2012 EGOS Colloquium, the 2013 Society for the Study of Social Problems Annual Meeting, the 2013 American Sociological Association Annual Meeting, the 2014 Alliance for Research on Corporate Sustainability Research Conference, and the 2014 Academy of Management Annual Meeting for their insightful feedback and suggestions.

  • Citation: Koushyar, Justin, Wesley Longhofer and Peter W. Roberts. 2015. “A Comparative Analysis of Corporate and Independent Foundations.” Sociological Science 2: 582-596.
  • Received: December 15, 2015.
  • Accepted: February 19, 2015.
  • Editors: Jesper Sørensen, Sarah Soule
  • DOI: 10.15195/v2.a28

The Hidden Costs of War: Exposure to Armed Conflict and Birth Outcomes

Florencia Torche, Uri Shwed

Sociological Science, December 7, 2015
DOI 10.15195/v2.a27

Research suggests that prenatal exposure to environmental stressors has negative effects after birth. However, capturing causal effects is difficult because exposed women may be selected on unobserved factors. We use the 2006 Israel–Hezbollah war as a natural experiment and a siblings fixed-effects methodology to address unobserved selectivity by comparing exposed and unexposed births of the same mother. Findings indicate that exposure to war in early and mid-pregnancy lowers birth weight and increases the probability of low birth weight. The effect is not driven by geographic sorting, migration, or increased miscarriages. Given that birth weight predicts health, developmental, and socioeconomic outcomes, prenatal exposure to acute stress may have long-term effects over the life course.
Florenia Torche: Department of Sociology, New York University  Email:

Uri Shwed: Department of Sociology and Anthropology, Ben Gurion University of Negev  Email:

Acknowledgements: The authors thank Dvorit Angel of the Israeli Central Bureau of Statistics for preparing the data sets used in this study and Uri Goldstein for excellent research assistantship. We are also grateful to Yinon Cohen and Seymour Spilerman for helpful comments and suggestions.

  • Citation: Torche, Florencia, and Uri Shwed. 2015. “The Hidden Costs of War: Exposure to Armed Conflict and Birth Outcomes.” Sociological Science 2: 558-581.
  • Received: April 15, 2015.
  • Accepted: May 21, 2015.
  • Editors: Jesper Sørensen, Olav Sorenson
  • DOI: 10.15195/v2.a27

Is There a Caring Class? Intergenerational Transmission of Care Work

Maria Charles, Corrie Ellis, Paula England

Sociological Science, September 30, 2015
DOI 10.15195/v2.a25

Most research on intergenerational social reproduction has been concerned with upward and downward movements across rank-ordered, “big-class” categories or along continuous gradients of status, income, or skill. An exception is the more nominal conceptualization of the social structure offered in recent research that focuses on qualitative differences in life conditions across occupational “micro classes.” The present analysis broadens this nominal approach by considering social reproduction across an important qualitative dimension that bridges multiple occupations: whether or not one’s work centrally involves care. Based on data from the U.S. General Social Surveys, results provide little evidence that care work is transmitted from parents to children. While women and men whose parents worked in care are more likely to do so themselves, this association is attributable to a general tendency for people to work in the same detailed occupation as their parents. Parents pass along their vertical status positions, and sometimes their specific occupations, but not care work as such. Parent–child similarity in caring outcomes likely reflects transmission of values, skills, knowledge, and network ties that are specific to detailed occupations, rather than attributable to care work broadly defined.
Maria Charles: Department of Sociology, University of California, Santa Barbara  Email:

Corrie Ellis: Department of Sociology, University of California, Santa Barbara  Email:

Paula England: Department of Sociology, New York University  Email:

Acknowledgements: Equal authors, listed alphabetically. This research was funded by a grant to England and Charles from the Russell Sage Foundation (RSF Project #85-12-05). We thank Alicia Cast, Erin Cech, Bridget Harr, Alexandra Hendley, Sarah Thebaud, and Catherine Weinberger for comments and suggestions, and Guadalupe Soto for research assistance.

  • Citation: Charles, Maria, Corrie Ellis, and Paula England. 2015.“Is There a Caring Class? Intergenerational Transmission of Care Work.” Sociological Science 2: 527-543.
  • Received: July 13, 2015.
  • Accepted: July 17, 2015.
  • Editors: Jesper Sørensen, Kim Weeden
  • DOI: 10.15195/v2.a25

Revisiting the Data from the New Family Structure Study: Taking Family Instability into Account

Michael J. Rosenfeld

Sociological Science, September 2, 2015
DOI 10.15195/v2.a23

This analysis revisits recent controversial findings about children of gay and lesbian parents, and shows that family instability explains most of the negative outcomes that had been attributed to gay and lesbian parents. Family transitions associated with parental loss of custody were more common than breakups of same-sex couples among family transitions experienced by subjects who ever lived with same-sex couples. The analyses also show that most associations between growing up with a single mother and later negative outcomes are mediated by childhood family transitions. I show that many different types of childhood family transitions (including parental breakup and the arrival of a parent’s new partner) are similarly associated with later negative outcomes.
Michael J. Rosenfeld: Department of Sociology, Stanford University.  Email:

  • Citation: Rosenfeld, Michael J. 2015. “Revisiting the Data from the New Family Structure Study: Taking Family Instability into Account.” Sociological Science 2:478-501.
  • Received: April 17, 2015.
  • Accepted: June 11, 2015.
  • Editors: Kim Weeden
  • DOI: 10.15195/v2.a23