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Measuring Paradigmaticness of Disciplines Using Text

Eliza D. Evans, Charles J. Gomez, Daniel A. McFarland

Sociological Science, August 31, 2016
DOI 10.15195/v3.a32

In this paper, we describe new methods that use the text of publications to measure the paradigmaticness of disciplines. Drawing on the text of published articles in the Web of Science, we build samples of disciplinary discourse. Using these language samples, we measure the two core concepts of paradigmaticness—consensus and rapid discovery (Collins 1994)—and show the relative positioning of eight example disciplines on each of these measures. Our measures show consistent differences between the “hard” sciences and “soft” social sciences. Deviations in the expected ranking of disciplines within the sciences and social sciences suggest new interpretations of the hierarchy of disciplines, directions for future research, and further insight into the developments in disciplinary structure and discourse that shape paradigmaticness.

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Eliza D. Evans*: Graduate School of Education, Stanford University
Email: elizae@stanford.edu

Charles J. Gomez*: Graduate School of Education, Stanford University
Email: cjgomez@stanford.edu

Daniel A. McFarland: Graduate School of Education, Stanford University
Email: dmcfarla@stanford.edu

Acknowledgements: This project has been generously funded by the Brown Magic Grant, Dean of Research at Stanford University, and NSF Award #0835614. This material is based upon work supported by the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program (No. DGE-114747). Any opinion, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the NSF. This work was also supported by the Stanford Graduate Fellowship Program and by a generous grant from the Global Development and Poverty (GDP) exploratory project, sponsored by the Stanford Institute for Innovation in Developing Economies (SEED) and the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies. These data were collected by the Mimir Project conducted at Stanford University by Daniel McFarland, Dan Jurafsky, and Jure Leskovec. Access to these data was approved by the Mimir Project, and usage followed IRB guidelines.

* Co-first authors and corresponding authors

  • Citation: Evans, Eliza D., Charles J. Gomez and Daniel A. McFarland. 2016. “Measuring Paradigmaticness of Disciplines Using Text.” Sociological Science 3: 757-778.
  • Received: March 4, 2016
  • Accepted: April 19, 2016
  • Editors: Gabriel Rossman
  • DOI: 10.15195/v3.a32
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Opportunity without Equity: Educational Inequality and Constitutional Protections in Egypt

Michelle Jackson, Elizabeth Buckner

Sociological Science, August 24, 2016
DOI 10.15195/v3.a31

The claim that the law can be an inequality-reducing weapon is a staple of legal and political discourse. Although it is hard to dispute that legal provisions sometimes work to reduce inequality, we argue that, at least in the domain of equal opportunity in education, the pattern of these effects can be more perverse than has typically been appreciated. Positive laws implemented in the name of promoting equality of opportunity may yield only a narrowly formal equality, with the goal of substantive equality undermined because a high-profile reform will often expose the pathway to educational success. The pathway, once exposed, can then be navigated and successfully subverted by the socioeconomically advantaged. We illustrate such pitfalls of a positive legal approach by examining educational inequality in Egypt, a country with long-standing constitutional protections for equality of opportunity in education. Using data recently collected from a cohort of young people, we show that despite the institutional commitments to equality of opportunity present in Egypt, privileged families have a range of options for subverting the aims of positive legal provisions. We argue that the pattern of educational inequality in Egypt is distinctive relative to countries without similar legal protections.

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Michelle Jackson: Department of Sociology, Stanford University
Email: mvjsoc@stanford.edu

Elizabeth Buckner: Teachers College, Columbia University
Email: esb2174@tc.columbia.edu

Acknowledgements: We thank David Cox, Corey Fields, Jared Furuta, David Grusky, Tomás Jiménez, Paolo Parigi, Deborah Rhode, Aliya Saperstein, Steffen Schindler,
Adam Swift, Robb Willer, Cristobal Young, Patricia Young, and participants at the RC28 Spring Meeting 2013 (Trento) and at the College for Interdisciplinary Educational Research 2016 (Berlin) for their comments on an earlier version of this article. We would also like to express our appreciation to Stephen Morgan and the Sociological Science reviewers, who offered incisive and helpful comments on the article.

  • Citation: Jackson, Michelle, and Elizabeth Buckner. 2016. “Opportunity without Equity: Educational Inequality and Constitutional Protections in Egypt.” Sociological Science 3: 730-756.
  • Received: March 4, 2016
  • Accepted: May 5, 2016
  • Editors: Stephen Morgan
  • DOI: 10.15195/v3.a31
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Income and Trustworthiness

John Ermisch, Diego Gambetta

Sociological Science, August 17, 2016
DOI 10.15195/v3.a30

We employ a behavioral measure of trustworthiness obtained from a trust game carried out with a sample of the general British population, the individuals of which were extensively interviewed on earlier occasions. Our basic finding is that given past income, higher current income increases trustworthiness and, given current income, higher past income reduces trustworthiness. Past income determines the level of financial aspirations, and whether or not these aspirations are fulfilled by the level of current income affects trustworthiness.

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John Ermisch: Department of Sociology and Nuffield College, University of Oxford
Email: john.ermisch@sociology.ox.ac.uk

Diego Gambetta: Department of Sociology and Nuffield College, University of Oxford
Email: diego.gambetta@eui.eu

Acknowledgements: We are grateful to the U.K. Economic and Social Research Council (People’s Trust: A Survey-based Experiment, RES-000-22-2241) for financial support for the research.

  • Citation: Ermisch, John, and Diego Gambetta. 2016. “Income and Trustworthiness.” Sociological Science 3: 710-729.
  • Received: March 9, 2016
  • Accepted: April 13, 2016
  • Editors: Jesper Sørensen, Delia Baldassarri
  • DOI: 10.15195/v3.a30
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Religion, Time Use, and Affective Well-Being

Chaeyoon Lim

Sociological Science, August 10, 2016
DOI 10.15195/v3.a29

This study examines whether religious people experience more positive affect and less negative affect in everyday life and, if they do, whether it is because of the differences in how they allocate time to different activities or because they feel differently during similar activities. Using the well-being module from the 2010–13 American Time Use Survey (ATUS), I show that churchgoers enjoy a significantly higher level of affective well-being on Sunday than non-churchgoers do. The supplementary analysis of the Gallup Daily Poll data suggests that this higher level of affective well-being among churchgoers is found throughout the rest of the week as well. Further analyses of the ATUS demonstrate that about 40 percent of the affective well-being gap between churchgoers and non-churchgoers on Sunday can be explained by how they spend their time differently. Churchgoers spend more time on Sunday participating in pleasant activities shared with family members and friends than non-churchgoers do. More than half of the gap, however, remains unexplained, implying that it has to do with how they feel during similar activities rather than the activities in which they participate. I discuss the implications of these findings on the mechanisms underlying the link between religion and subjective well-being.

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Chaeyoon Lim: Department of Sociology, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Email: chaeyoon.lim@wisc.edu

  • Citation: Lim, Chaeyoon. 2016. “Religion, Time Use, and Affective Well-Being.” Sociological Science 3: 685-709.
  • Received: April 6, 2016
  • Accepted: May 8, 2016
  • Editors: Jesper Sørensen, Kim Weeden
  • DOI: 10.15195/v3.a29
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Lifestyles through Expenditures: A Case-Based Approach to Saving

Lisa A. Keister, Richard Benton, James Moody

Sociological Science, August 3, 2016
DOI 10.15195/v3.a28

Treating people as cases that are proximate in a behavior space—representing lifestyles—rather than as markers of single variables has a long history in sociology. Yet, because it is difficult to find analytically tractable ways to implement this idea, this approach is rarely used. We take seriously the idea that people are whole packages, and we use household spending to identify groups who occupy similar positions in social space. Using detailed data on household consumption, we identify eight positions that are clearly similar in lifestyle. We then study how the lifestyles we identify are associated with saving, an important measure of household well-being. We find that households cluster into distinct lifestyles based on similarities and differences in consumption. These lifestyles are meaningfully related in social space and save in distinct ways that have important implications for understanding inequality and stratification.

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Lisa A. Keister: Department of Sociology, Duke University
Email: lkeister@soc.duke.edu

Richard Benton: School of Labor and Employment Relations, University of Illinois
Email: rabenton@illinois.edu

James Moody: Department of Sociology, Duke University
Email: Jmoody77@soc.duke.edu

Acknowledgements: Direct correspondence to Lisa A. Keister at 268 Sociology-Psychology Building, Box 90088, Durham, NC 27708. Lkeister@soc.duke.edu. Keister acknowledges a grant from the National Science Foundation (SES-1322738), and Moody acknowledges a grant the National Institutes of Health (HD075712-01) that supported this research. We are grateful for comments from David Diehl, Achim Edelmann, and Hang Young Lee.

  • Citation: Keister, Lisa A., Richard Benton, and James Moody. 2016. “Lifestyles through Expenditures: A Case-Based Approach to Saving.” Sociological Science 3: 650-684.
  • Received: March 17, 2016
  • Accepted: April 12, 2016
  • Editors: Jesper Sørensen, Olav Sorenson
  • DOI: 10.15195/v3.a28
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Multicollinearity and Model Misspecification

Christopher Winship, Bruce Western

Sociological Science, July 26, 2016
DOI 10.15195/v3.a27

Multicollinearity in linear regression is typically thought of as a problem of large standard errors due to near-linear dependencies among independent variables. This problem can be solved by more informative data, possibly in the form of a larger sample. We argue that this understanding of multicollinearity is only partly correct. The near collinearity of independent variables can also increase the sensitivity of regression estimates to small errors in the model misspecification. We examine the classical assumption that independent variables are uncorrelated with the errors. With collinearity, small deviations from this assumption can lead to large changes in estimates. We present a Bayesian estimator that specifies a prior distribution for the covariance between the independent variables and the error term. This estimator can be used to calculate confidence intervals that reflect sampling error and uncertainty about the model specification. A Monte Carlo experiment indicates that the Bayesian estimator has good frequentist properties in the presence of specification errors. We illustrate the new method by estimating a model of the black–white gap in earnings.

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Christopher Winship: Department of Sociology, Harvard University
Email: cwinship@wjh.harvard.edu

Bruce Western: Department of Sociology, Harvard University
Email: western@wjh.harvard.edu

Acknowledgements: We thank Kinga Makovi for help in the preparation of the manuscript. We also appreciate the editor’s suggestions for citations that we were unaware of.

  • Citation: Winship, Christopher, and Bruce Western. 2016. “Multicollinearity and Model Misspecification.” Sociological Science 3:627-649.
  • Received: February 5, 2016
  • Accepted: March 5, 2016
  • Editors: Jesper Sørensen, Olav Sorenson
  • DOI: 10.15195/v3.a27
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Stylized Facts in the Social Sciences

Daniel Hirschman

Sociological Science, July 19, 2016
DOI 10.15195/v3.a26

Stylized facts are empirical regularities in search of theoretical, causal explanations. Stylized facts are both positive claims (about what is in the world) and normative claims (about what merits scholarly attention). Much of canonical social science research can be usefully characterized as the production or contestation of stylized facts. Beyond their value as grist for the theoretical mill of social scientists, stylized facts also travel directly into the political arena. Drawing on three recent examples, I show how stylized facts can interact with existing folk causal theories to reconstitute political debates and how tensions in the operationalization of folk concepts drive contention around stylized fact claims.

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Daniel Hirschman: Department of Sociology, Brown University
Email: daniel_hirschman@brown.edu

Acknowledgements: I thank Beth Berman, Jamie Budnick, Wendy Espeland, Isaac Reed, and audiences at the 2013 Junior Theorists Symposium and the Michigan Social Theory Workshop for helpful comments on earlier drafts of this manuscript.

  • Citation:Hirschman, Daniel. 2016. “Stylized Facts in the Social Sciences.” Sociological Science 3: 604-626.
  • Received: April 22, 2016
  • Accepted: April 29, 2016
  • Editors: Jesper Sørensen, Sarah Soule
  • DOI: 10.15195/v3.a26
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The Consequences of the National Math and Science Performance Environment for Gender Differences in STEM Aspiration

Allison Mann, Thomas A. DiPrete

Sociological Science, July 12, 2016
DOI 10.15195/v3.a25

Using the lens of expectation states theory, which we formalize in Bayesian terms, this article examines the influences of national performance and self-assessment contexts on gender differences in the rate of aspiring to science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) occupations. We demonstrate that girls hold themselves to a higher performance standard than do boys before forming STEM orientations, and this gender “standards gap” grows with the strength of a country’s performance environment. We also demonstrate that a repeatedly observed paradox in this literature—namely, that the STEM gender gap increases with a more strongly gender-egalitarian national culture—vanishes when the national performance culture is taken into account. Whereas other research has proposed theories to explain the apparent paradox as an empirical reality, we demonstrate that the empirical relationship is as expected; net of the performance environment, countries with a more gender-egalitarian culture have a smaller gender gap in STEM orientations. We also find, consistent with our theory, that the proportion of high-performing girls among STEM aspirants grows with the strength of the national performance environment even as the overall gender gap in STEM orientations grows because of offsetting behavior by students at the lower end of the performance distribution.

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Allison Mann: Sociology Department, Columbia University
Email: alm2174@columbia.edu

Thomas A. DiPrete: Sociology Department, Columbia University
Email: tad61@columbia.edu

Acknowledgements: This project was supported by Award Number R01EB010584 from the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering or the National Institutes of Health. We acknowledge helpful comments by Claudia Buchmann and Joscha Legewie.

  • Citation: Mann, Allison, and Thomas A. DiPrete. 2016. “The Consequences of the National Math and Science Performance Environment for Gender Differences in STEM Aspirations.” Sociological Science 3: 568-603.
  • Received: February 22, 2016
  • Accepted: March 31, 2016
  • Editors: Jesper Sørensen, Stephen Morgan
  • DOI: 10.15195/v3.a25
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American Exceptionalism Revisited: Tax Relief, Poverty Reduction, and the Politics of Child Tax Credits

Joshua T. McCabe, Elizabeth Popp Berman

Sociological Science, July 8, 2016
DOI 10.15195/v3.a24

In the 1990s, several liberal welfare regimes (LWRs) introduced child tax credits (CTCs) aimed at reducing child poverty. While in other countries these tax credits were refundable, the United States alone introduced a nonrefundable CTC. As a result, the United States was the only country in which poor and working-class families were paradoxically excluded from these new benefits. A comparative analysis of Canada and the United States shows that American exceptionalism resulted from the cultural legacy of distinct public policies. We argue that policy changes in the 1940s institutionalized different “logics of appropriateness” that later constrained policymakers in the 1990s. Specifically, the introduction of family allowances in Canada and other LWR countries naturalized a logic of income supplementation in which families could legitimately receive cash benefits without the stigma of “welfare.” Lacking this policy legacy, American attempts to introduce a refundable CTC were quickly derailed by policymakers who saw it as equivalent to welfare. Instead, they introduced a narrow, nonrefundable CTC under the alternative logic of “tax relief,” even though this meant excluding the lowest-income families. The cultural legacy of past policies can explain American exceptionalism not only with regard to CTCs but to other social policies as well.

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Joshua T.McCabe: The Freedom Project, Wellesley College
Email: jmccabe@wellesley.edu

Elizabeth Popp Berman: Department of Sociology, University at Albany, SUNY
Email: epberman@albany.edu

Acknowledgements: We would like to thank Nadya Hajj, Sarah Quinn, and audiences at the University of Toronto and Social Science History Association for comments on various versions of this article.

  • Citation: McCabe, Joshua T., and Elizabeth Popp Berman. 2016. “American Exceptionalism Revisited: Tax Relief, Poverty Reduction, and the Politics of Child Tax Credits.” Sociological Science 3: 540-567.
  • Received: March 16, 2016
  • Accepted: March 27, 2016
  • Editors: Jesper Sørensen, Sarah Soule
  • DOI: 10.15195/v3.a24
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