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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
0

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
0

The Bell Curve Revisited: Testing Controversial Hypotheses with Molecular Genetic Data

Dalton Conley, Benjamin Domingue

Sociological Science, July 5, 2016
DOI 10.15195/v3.a23

In 1994, the publication of Herrnstein’s and Murray’s The Bell Curve resulted in a social science maelstrom of responses. In the present study, we argue that Herrnstein’s and Murray’s assertions were made prematurely, on their own terms, given the lack of data available to test the role of genotype in the dynamics of achievement and attainment in U.S. society. Today, however, the scientific community has access to at least one dataset that is nationally representative and has genome-wide molecular markers. We deploy those data from the Health and Retirement Study in order to test the core series of propositions offered by Herrnstein and Murray in 1994. First, we ask whether the effect of genotype is increasing in predictive power across birth cohorts in the middle twentieth century. Second, we ask whether assortative mating on relevant genotypes is increasing across the same time period. Finally, we ask whether educational genotypes are increasingly predictive of fertility (number ever born [NEB]) in tandem with the rising (negative) association of educational outcomes and NEB. The answers to these questions are mostly no; while molecular genetic markers can predict educational attainment, we find little evidence for the proposition that we are becoming increasingly genetically stratified.

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Dalton Conley: Department of Sociology, Princeton University
Email: dconley@princeton.edu

Benjamin Domingue: Graduate School of Education, Stanford University
Email: bdomingue@stanford.edu

Acknowledgements: Funding for this study was provided by the Russell Sage Foundation, Grant 83-15-29. This research uses data from the HRS, which is sponsored by the National Institute on Aging (Grants NIA U01AG009740, RC2AG036495, and RC4AG039029) and conducted by the University of Michigan.

  • Citation: Conley, Dalton, and Benjamin Domingue. 2016. “The Bell Curve Revisited: Testing Controversial Hypotheses with Molecular Genetic Data.” Sociological Science 3: 520-539.
  • Received: January 19, 2016
  • Accepted: February 22, 2016
  • Editors: Stephen Morgan
  • DOI: 10.15195/v3.a23
3

Financialization Is Marketization! A Study of the Respective Impacts of Various Dimensions of Financialization on the Increase in Global Inequality

Olivier Godechot

Sociological Science, June 29, 2016
DOI 10.15195/v3.a22

In this article, I study the impact of financialization on the rise in inequality in 18 OECD countries from 1970 to 2011 and measure the respective roles of various forms of financialization: the growth of the financial sector; the growth of one of its subcomponents, financial markets; the financialization of non-financial firms; and the financialization of households. I test these impacts using cross-country panel regressions in OECD countries. I show first that the share of the finance sector within the GDP is a substantial driver of world inequality, explaining between 20 and 40 percent of its increase from 1980 to 2007. When I decompose this financial sector effect, I find that this evolution was mainly driven by the increase in the volume of stocks traded in national stock exchanges and by the volume of shares held as assets in banks’ balance sheets. By contrast, the financialization of non-financial firms and of households does not play a substantial role. Based on this inequality test, I therefore interpret financialization as being mainly a phenomenon of marketization, redefined as the growing amount of social energy devoted to the trade of financial instruments on financial markets.

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Olivier Godechot: Sciences Po / MaxPo and OSC-CNRS, Axa Chair Holder
Email: olivier.godechot@sciencespo.fr

Acknowledgements: I am very grateful to Moritz Schularick for sharing his precious data on debt (Jordà and al., 2014). I would like to thank Alex Barnard, Emanuele Ferragina, Neil Fligstein, Elsa Massoc, Cornelia Woll and Nicolas Woloszko for comments on this article.

  • Citation: Godechot, Olivier. 2016. “Financialization Is Marketization! A Study of the Respective Impacts of Various Dimensions of Financialization on the Increase in Global Inequality” Sociological Science 3: 495-519.
  • Received: November 23, 2015
  • Accepted: March 16, 2016
  • Editors: Jesper Sørensen, Kim Weeden
  • DOI: 10.15195/v3.a22
0

Vocational Education and Employment over the Life Cycle

Andrea G. Forster, Thijs Bol, Herman G. van de Werfhorst

Sociological Science, June 24, 2016
DOI 10.15195/v3.a21

Vocationally educated individuals often find employment sooner after school than those with a general educational qualification. A recent study has argued that the higher employment probability associated with a vocational qualification reverses in later life. The main explanation is that although having (occupation-)specific skills is an advantage when entering the labor market, specific skills also make the vocationally educated less flexible. This life cycle effect is hypothesized to be especially strong in countries where the vocational system provides highly occupation-specific skills. We test these two hypotheses on cross-national data from PIAAC 2012. Using logistic regressions with country fixed effects, we find that individuals with a vocational qualification have a higher employment probability than those with a general qualification at the start of their career, but this pattern reverses in later life. In contrast to earlier findings, we do not find that this effect varies systematically across countries with different vocational educational systems.

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Andrea G. Forster: Department of Sociology, University of Amsterdam
Email: a.g.forster@uva.nl

Thijs Bol: Department of Sociology, University of Amsterdam
Email: t.bol@uva.nl

Herman G. van de Werfhorst: Department of Sociology, University of Amsterdam
Email: h.g.vandewerfhorst@uva.nl

Acknowledgements: This research was supported by several grants awarded by the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (NWO): A Vici grant (number 453-14-017), a NWO/NRO-PROO grant Educational Systems and Functions of Education (number 411-10-920), and a NWO/NRO-ProBo grant The Future of Craftsmanship (number 405-15-400).

  • Citation: Forster, Andrea G., Thijs Bol, and Herman G. van de Werfhorst. 2016. “Vocational Education and Employment over the Life Cycle” Sociological Science 3: 473-494.
  • Received: December 3, 2015
  • Accepted: February 15, 2016
  • Editors: Jesper Sørensen, Stephen Morgan
  • DOI: 10.15195/v3.a21
0

A Theory of the Evolution of Social Power: Natural Trajectories of Interpersonal Influence Systems along Issue Sequences

Noah E. Friedkin, Peng Jia, Francesco Bullo

Sociological Science, June 21, 2016
DOI 10.15195/v3.a20

This article reports new advancements in the theory of influence system evolution in small deliberative groups, and a novel set of empirical findings on such evolution. The theory elaborates the specification of the single-issue opinion dynamics of such groups, which has been the focus of theory development in the field of opinion dynamics, to include group dynamics that occur along a sequence of issues. The theory predicts an evolution of influence centralities along issue sequences based on elementary reflected appraisal mechanisms that modify influence network structure and flows of influence in the group. The new empirical findings, which are also reported in this article, present a remarkable suite of issue-sequence effects on influence network structure consistent with theoretical predictions.

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Noah E. Friedkin: Center for Control, Dynamical Systems and Computation, University of California, Santa Barbara
Email: friedkin@soc.ucsb.edu

Peng Jia: Center for Control, Dynamical Systems and Computation, University of California, Santa Barbara
Email: pjia@engineering.ucsb.edu

Francesco Bullo: Center for Control, Dynamical Systems and Computation, University of California, Santa Barbara
Email: bullo@engineering.ucsb.edu

Acknowledgements: We thank the Editor and Associate Editors of this journal for their cogent comments. This material is based upon work supported by, or in part by, the U. S. Army Research Laboratory and the U. S. Army Research Office under grant numbers W911NF-15-1-0577, W911NF-15-1-0274, and W911NF-09-0001. The content of the information does not necessarily reflect the position or the policy of the Government, and no official endorsement should be inferred.

  • Citation: Friedkin, Noah E., Peng Jia, and Francesco Bullo. 2016. “A Theory of the Evolution of Social Power: Natural Trajectories of Interpersonal Influence Systems along Issue Sequences.” Sociological Science 3: 444-472.
  • Received: November 7, 2015
  • Accepted: February 4, 2016
  • Editors: Jesper Sørensen, Delia Baldassarri
  • DOI: 10.15195/v3.a20
0

Political Structures and Political Mores: Varieties of Politics in Comparative Perspective

Marion Fourcade, Evan Schofer

Sociological Science, June 16, 2016
DOI 10.15195/v3.a19

We offer an integrated study of political participation, bridging the gap between the literatures on civic engagement and social movements. Historically evolved institutions and culture generate different configurations of the political domain, shaping the meaning and forms of political activity in different societies. The structuration of the polity along the dimensions of “stateness” and “corporateness” accounts for cross-national differences in the way individuals make sense of and engage in the political sphere. Forms of political participation that are usually treated as istinct are actually interlinked and co-vary across national configurations. In societies where interests are represented in a formalized manner through corporatist arrangements, political participation revolves primarily around membership in pre-established groups and concerted negotiation, rather than extra-institutional types of action. By contrast, in “statist” societies the centralization and concentration of sovereignty in the state makes it the focal point of claim-making, driving social actors to engage in “public” activities and marginalizing private and, especially, market-based political forms. We test these and other hypotheses using cross-national data on political participation from the World Values Survey.

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Marion Fourcade: Department of Sociology, University of California, Berkeley
Email: fourcade@berkeley.edu

Evan Schofer: Department of Sociology, University of California, Irvine
Email: schofer@uci.edu

Acknowledgements: The authors contributed equally to this article. We thank Irene Bloemraad, Steven Brint, David Frank, Ann Hironaka, Ronald Jepperson, Howard Kimmeldorf, John Meyer, Francisco Ramirez, Sandra Smith, Sarah Soule; members of the Stanford Comparative Workshop and the Irvine Comparative Sociology Workshop. The usual disclaimer applies.

  • Citation: Fourcade, Marion and Evan Schofer. 2016. “Political Structures and Political Mores: Varieties of Politics in Comparative Perspective” Sociological Science 3: 413-443.
  • Received: May 8, 2015
  • Accepted: December 23, 2015
  • Editors: Jesper Sørensen, Sarah Soule
  • DOI: 10.15195/v3.a19
0

Twentieth Century Intercohort Trends in Verbal Ability in the United States

Shawn F. Dorius, Duane F. Alwin, Julianna Pacheco

Sociological Science, June 13, 2016
DOI 10.15195/v3.a18

Vocabulary test score trends from the General Social Survey contradict the widespread conclusion that scores on standardized intelligence tests have systematically increased over the past century. We use a vocabulary test included in 20 nationally representative surveys administered since 1974 to test three hypotheses proposed to account for these trends, including changes in the formal measurement properties of the test, over-time changes in the meaning of education, and intercohort differences in exposure to words on the test. We find no support for the idea that test scores have declined because of changes in the structure of the test. Instead, our results show that education selectivity accounts for some cohort differences among prewar cohorts and that cohort-specific differences in exposure to words on the test account for nearly all variation in vocabulary scores of respondents born after 1945, suggesting different causal processes have influenced cohort verbal ability during distinct historical eras.

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Shawn F. Dorius: Department of Sociology, Iowa State University
Email: sdorius@iastate.edu

Duane F. Alwin: Department of Sociology and Criminology, Pennsylvania State University
Email: dfa2@psu.edu

Julianna Pacheco: Department of Political Science, University of Iowa
Email: julianna-pacheco@uiowa.edu

Acknowledgements: This research was supported by National Institute of Child Health and Human Development Training Grant from the Population Studies Center at the University of Michigan (T32 HD007339). Duane Alwin was supported in part by a grant from the National Institute of Aging (R01AG021203), a grant from the National Science Foundation (SES-1331454), and the McCourtney endowment, College of the Liberal Arts, Pennsylvania State University, during the writing of this article. Please direct correspondence to Shawn F. Dorius (sdorius@iastate.edu).

  • Citation: Dorius, Shawn F., Duane F. Alwin and Julianna Pacheco. 2016. “Twentieth Century Intercohort Trends in Verbal Ability in the United States.” Sociological Science 3: 383-412.
  • Received: January 13, 2016
  • Accepted: January 28, 2016
  • Editors: Jesper Sørensen, Stephen Morgan
  • DOI: 10.15195/v3.a18
0

Trust and Public Support for Environmental Protection in Diverse National Contexts

Malcolm Fairbrother

Sociological Science, June 8, 2016
DOI 10.15195/v3.a17

Worldwide, most people share scientists’ concerns about environmental problems, but reject the solution that policy experts most strongly recommend: putting a price on pollution. Why? I show that this puzzling gap between the public’s positive concerns and normative preferences is due substantially to a lack of trust, particularly political trust. In multilevel models fitted to two international survey datasets, trust strongly predicts support for environmental protection within countries and, by some measures, among countries also. An influential competing theory holds that environmental attitudes correlate mostly with left versus right political ideology; the results here, however, show that this correlation is weaker and varies substantially from country to country—unlike that with trust. Theoretically, these results reflect that environmental degradation is a collective action problem and environmental protection a public good. Methodologically, they derive from the more flexible application of multilevel modeling techniques than in previous studies using such models.

Creative Commons LicenseThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
Malcolm Fairbrother: School of Geographical Sciences, Cabot Institute, Centre for Multilevel Modelling, University of Bristol
Email: ggmhf@bristol.ac.uk

Acknowledgements: The author thanks Diego Miralles, Laura De Vito, Jan Mewes, and Jonas Edlund for helpful comments on earlier versions of this article, and audiences at the Institute for Futures Studies (Stockholm), Umeå University, Örebro University, Gothenburg University, Stockholm University, and the Institute for Social and Economic Research (Essex) for many constructive suggestions and criticisms. The research on which the article is based was funded in part by the Riksbankens Jubileumsfonds (Swedish Foundation for Humanities and Social Sciences, project number NHS14-2035:1), and a Fellowship from the Institute for Advanced Studies at the University of Bristol.

  • Citation: Fairbrother, Malcolm. 2016. “Trust and Public Support for Environmental Protection in Diverse National Contexts.” Sociological Science 3: 359-382.
  • Received: March 3, 2016
  • Accepted: March 13, 2016
  • Editors: Jesper Sørensen, Sarah Soule
  • DOI: 10.15195/v3.a17
0

Integration Policies and Immigrants’ Labor Market Outcomes in Europe

Irena Kogan

Sociological Science, June 3, 2016
DOI 10.15195/v3.a16

This article assesses whether two integration policy measures (labor market training and counseling) reach the immigrants who need them and whether these policies improve immigrants’ labor market situations. We first examine the comprehensiveness of integration policies by linking Migration Integration Policy Index scores of immigrants’ labor market mobility with levels of immigrant participation in labor market training and counseling in 15 European countries. We find that provision with labor market training does not entirely correspond to policy intentions, whereas labor market counseling more closely achieves policies’ proclaimed aims. Second, we carry out propensity score matching analysis to estimate the effectiveness of immigrants’ integration policies. We find that labor market training and counseling do not improve immigrants’ employability or job status in three of the four analyzed countries, which lends weak support to the productivity skills argument, emphasizing instead the validity of the signaling and selection perspectives.

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Irena Kogan: University of Mannheim
Email: kogan@mail.uni-mannheim.de

Acknowledgements: Earlier versions of the article were presented at ECSR Spring School, Collegio Carlo Alberto, Turin, March 23–27, 2015; Nuffield College Sociology Seminar, University of Oxford, June 3, 2015; and Annual BAGGS Conference on Inequality, University of Bamberg, September 29–30, 2015. We thank the participants for their valuable comments and suggestions.

  • Citation: Kogan, Irena. 2016. “Integration Policies and Immigrants’ Labor Market Outcomes in Europe.” Sociological Science 3: 335-358.
  • Received: January 16, 2016
  • Accepted: February 19, 2016
  • Editors: Jesper Sørensen, Olav Sorenson
  • DOI: 10.15195/v3.a16
0
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