Sociological Science: Recent Research

So You Think You Can Dance? Lessons from the U.S. Private Equity Bubble

Catherine J. Turco, Ezra W. Zuckerman

Sociological Science, March 24, 2014
DOI 10.15195/v1.a7


This article develops a sociologically informed approach to market bubbles by integrating insights from financial-economic theory with the concepts of voice and dissimulation from other cases of distorted valuation studied by sociologists (e.g., witch hunts, unpopular norms, and support for authoritarian regimes). It draws on unique data—longitudinal interviews with private equity market participants during and after that market’s mid-2000s bubble—to test key implications of two existing theories of bubbles and to move beyond both. In doing so, the article suggests a crucial revision to the behavioral finance agenda, wherein bubbles may pertain less to the cognitive errors individuals make when estimating asset values and more to the sociological and institutionally driven challenge of how to interpret complex social and competitive environments.

Catherine J. Turco: Massachusetts Institute of Technology. E-mail:

Ezra W. Zuckerman: Massachusetts Institute of Technology. E-mail:

  • Citation: Turco, Catherine J., and Ezra W. Zuckerman. 2014. “So You Think You Can Dance? Lessons from the U.S. Private Equity Bubble.” Sociological Science 1: 81-101.
  • Received: September 16, 2013
  • Accepted: October 24, 2013
  • Editors: Jesper Sørensen, Olav Sorenson
  • DOI: 10.15195/v1.a7  


Beyond the One-Drop Rule: Views of Obama’s Race and Voting Intention in 2008

Simon Cheng, David Weakliem

Sociological Science, March 17, 2014
DOI 10.15195/v1.a6


We use data from a national survey of likely voters conducted before the 2008 election to study the association between Obama’s perceived racial identity and voters’ choices. Voters who saw Obama as biracial were substantially more likely to vote for him, suggesting that many Americans regard a biracial identity more favorably than a black identity. The relationship was stronger among Democrats than among Republicans. The potential implications of our findings for the future of race in American politics are discussed.

Simon Cheng: University of Connecticut. E-mail:

David L. Weakliem: University of Connecticut. E-mail:

  • Citation: Cheng, Simon, and David L. Weakliem. 2014. “Beyond the One-Drop Rule: Views of Obama’s Race and Voting Intention in 2008.” Sociological Science 1: 70-80.
  • Received: September 17, 2013
  • Accepted: November 5, 2013
  • Editors: Jesper Sørensen, Sarah A. Soule
  • DOI: 10.15195/v1.a6

The Diffusion of the Legitimate and the Diffusion of Legitimacy

Gabriel Rossman

Sociological Science, March 3, 2014
DOI 10.15195/v1.a5


This article models the implications of innovations being nested within categories. In effect, social actors assess the legitimacy of innovations vis-à-vis conformity to categories such that a sufficiently legitimate innovation may be adopted without direct reference to the behavior of peers. However, when innovations lack categorical legitimacy, actors default to proximately peer-oriented heuristics such as information cascades. Eventually, if enough similarly novel innovations achieve widespread popularity, their conventions will become accepted as a legitimate category. Thus density creates legitimacy, but this density can be at the level of the particular innovation or of the category within which it is embedded.

Gabriel Rossman: University of California, Los Angeles. E-mail:

  • Citation: Rossman, Gabriel. 2014. “The Diffusion of the Legitimate and the Diffusion of Legitimacy.” Sociological Science 1: 49–69.
  • Received: September 17, 2013
  • Accepted: September 20, 2013
  • Editors: Jesper Sørensen, Ezra Zuckerman
  • DOI: 10.15195/v1.a5


Pathways to Science and Engineering Bachelor’s Degrees for Men and Women

Joscha Legewie, Thomas A. DiPrete

Sociological Science, February 18, 2014
DOI 10.15195/v1.a4


Despite the striking reversal of the gender gap in educational attainment and the near–gender parity in math performance, women pursue science and engineering (S/E) degrees at much lower rates than their male peers do. Current efforts to increase the number of women in these fields focus on different life-course periods but lack a clear understanding of the importance of these periods and how orientations toward S/E fields develop over time. In this article, we examine the gendered pathways to a S/E bachelor’s degree from middle school to high school and college based on a representative sample from the 1973 to 1974 birth cohort. Using a counterfactual decomposition analysis, we determine the relative importance of these different life-course periods and thereby inform the direction of future research and policy. Our findings confirm previous research that highlights the importance of early encouragement for gender differences in S/E degrees, but our findings also attest to the high school years as a decisive period for the gender gap, while challenging the focus on college in research and policy. Indeed, if female high school seniors had the same orientation toward and preparation for S/E fields as their male peers, the gender gap in S/E degrees would be closed by as much as 82 percent.

Joscha Legewie: Wissenschaftszentrum Berlin fur Sozialforschung. E-mail:

Thomas A DiPrete: Department of Sociology, Columbia University. E-mail:

  • Citation: Legewie, Joscha, and Thomas A. DiPrete. 2014. “Pathways to Science and Engineering Bachelor’s Degrees for Men and Women.” Sociological Science 1: 41-48.
  • Received: September 18, 2013
  • Accepted: October 10, 2013
  • Editors: Jesper Sørensen, Kim Weeden
  • DOI: 10.15195/v1.a4


Time as a Network Good: Evidence from Unemployment and the Standard Workweek

Cristobal Young, Chaeyoon Lim

Sociological Science, February 18, 2014
DOI 10.15195/v1.a2


We argue that time is a network good: its value depends on the number of social others who have the same schedule of time available. We demonstrate this in a comparative analysis of how the standard workweek shapes the social time and emotional well-being of workers and the unemployed. Drawing on two independent data sets, with more than half a million respondents, we show that both workers and the unemployed experience remarkably similar increases in emotional well-being on weekends and have similar declines in well-being when the workweek begins. The unemployed look forward to weekends much the same as workers. This is in large part because social time increases sharply on weekends for both workers and the unemployed. Weekend well-being is not due to time off work per se but rather is a collectively produced social good stemming from widely shared free time on weekends. The unemployed gain comparatively little benefit from their time off during the week, when others go to work.

Cristobal Young: Department of Sociology, Stanford University. E-mail:

Chaeyoon Lim: Department of Sociology, University of Wisconsin-Madison. E-mail:

  • Citation: Young, Cristobal, and Chaeyoon Lim. 2014. “Time as a Network Good: Evidence from Unemployment and the Standard Workweek.” Sociological Science 1: 10-27.
  • Received: October 16, 2013
  • Accepted: October 24, 2013
  • Editors: Stephen L. Morgan
  • DOI: 10.15195/v1.a2


The Structure of Online Activism

Kevin Lewis, Kurt Gray, Jens Meierhenrich

Sociological Science, February 18, 2014
DOI 10.15195/v1.a1


Despite the tremendous amount of attention that has been paid to the internet as a tool for civic engagement, we still have little idea how “active” is the average online activist or how social networks matter in facilitating electronic protest. In this paper, we use complete records on the donation and recruitment activity of 1.2 million members of the Save Darfur “Cause” on Facebook to provide a detailed first look at a massive online social movement. While both donation and recruitment behavior are socially patterned, the vast majority of Cause members recruited no one else into the Cause and contributed no money to it-suggesting that in the case of the Save Darfur campaign, Facebook conjured an illusion of activism rather than facilitating the real thing.

Kevin Lewis: Department of Sociology, University of California, San Diego. E-mail:

Kurt Gray: Department of Psychology, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. E-mail:

Jens Meierhenrich: Department of International Relations, London School of Economics and Political Science. E-mail:

  • Citation: Lewis, Kevin, Kurt Gray, and Jens Meierhenrich. 2014. “The Structure of Online Activism.” Sociological Science 1: 1-9.
  • Received: September 16, 2013
  • Accepted: October 16, 2013
  • Editors: Jesper Sørensen, Sarah Soule
  • DOI: 10.15195/v1.a1