Sociological Science: Recent Research

High Stakes in the Classroom, High Stakes on the Street: The Effects of Community Violence on Student’s Standardized Test Performance

Patrick Sharkey, Amy Ellen Schwartz, Ingrid Gould Ellen, Johanna Lacoe

Sociological Science, May 27, 2014
DOI 10.15195/v1.a14

This article examines the effect of exposure to violent crime on students’ standardized test performance among a sample of students in New York City public schools. To identify the effect of exposure to community violence on children’s test scores, we compare students exposed to an incident of violent crime on their own blockface in the week prior to the exam to students exposed in the week after the exam. The results show that such exposure to violent crime reduces performance on English language arts assessments and has no effect on math scores. The effect of exposure to violent crime is most pronounced among African Americans and reduces the passing rates of black students by approximately 3 percentage points.

Patrick Sharkey: Department of Sociology, New York University.

Amy Ellen Schwartz: Robert F. Wagner School of Public Service, New York University.

Ingrid Gould Ellen: Robert F. Wagner School of Public Service, New York University.

Johanna Lacoe: Price School of Public Policy, University of Southern California.

  • Citation: Sharkey, Patrick, Amy Ellen Schwartz, Ingrid Gould Ellen, and Johanna Lacoe. 2014. “High stakes in the classroom, high stakes on the street: The effects of community violence on students’ standardized test performance.” Sociological Science 1: 199-220.
  • Received: October 29, 2013
  • Accepted: December 20, 2013
  • Editors: Jesper Sørensen, Stephen L. Morgan
  • DOI: 10.15195/v1.a14

Asymmetries in Experiential and Vicarious Feedback: Lessons from the Hiring and Firing of Baseball Managers

David Strang, Kelly Patterson

Sociological Science, May 12, 2014
DOI 10.15195/v1.a13

We examine experiential and vicarious feedback in the hiring and firing of baseball managers. Realized outcomes play a large role in both decisions; the probability that a manager will be fired is a function of the team’s win–loss record, and a manager is quicker to be rehired if his teams had won more in the past. There are substantial asymmetries, however, in the fine structure of the two feedback functions. The rate at which managers are fired is powerfully shaped by recent outcomes, falls with success and rises with failure, and adjusts for history-based expectations. By contrast, hiring reflects a longer-term perspective that emphasizes outcomes over the manager’s career as well as the most recent campaign, rewards success but does not penalize failure, and exhibits no adjustment for historical expectations. We explain these asymmetries in terms of the disparate displays of rationality that organizations enact in response to their own outcomes versus those of others. Experiential feedback is conditioned by a logic of accountability, vicarious feedback by a logic of emulation.

David Strang: Cornell University. E-mail:

Kelly Patterson: University of Southern California. E-mail:

  • Citation: Strang, David and Kelly Patterson. 2014. “Asymmetries in Experiential and Vicarious Feedback: Lessons from the Hiring and Firing of Baseball Managers.” Sociological Science 1: 178-198.
  • Received: October 9, 2013
  • Accepted: October 14, 2013
  • Editors: Jesper Sørensen, Olav Sorenson
  • DOI: 10.15195/v1.a13

Job Mobility and the Great Recession: Wage Consequences by Gender and Parenthood

Youngjoo Cha

Sociological Science, May 2, 2014
DOI 10.15195/v1.a12

This study examines how inter-organizational mobility affects earnings inequality based on gender and parenthood under different macroeconomic conditions. Fixed effects regression analysis of Survey of Income and Program Participation data from 2004 to 2012 shows that earnings growth after quitting jobs for work-related reasons (e.g., to improve one’s job situation) is greater for women than for men pre-recession, but the trend is driven by childless women, and mothers of children under six benefit the least among all groups of workers. However, this motherhood wage penalty disappears in the 2008 recession, as a result of the decline of wage returns to mobility for childless women. The analysis also shows that across economic conditions, the rate of layoffs or displacement is higher among men than women, but once laid off, women experience greater earnings losses than men. No motherhood penalty is found for this mobility type. These findings help us understand the longitudinal process by which the motherhood wage penalty is generated, and conditions under which a motherhood-based or gender-based wage gap becomes more pronounced.

Youngjoo Cha: Indiana University. E-mail:

  • Citation: Cha, Youngjoo. 2014. “Job Mobility and the Great Recession: Wage Consequences by Gender and Parenthood.” Sociological Science 1: 159-177.
  • Received: October 31, 2013
  • Accepted: January 19, 2014
  • Editors: Jesper Sørensen, Olav Sorenson
  • DOI: 10.15195/v1.a12

Unintended Consequences: Effects of Paternal Incarceration on Child School Readiness and Later Special Education Placement

Anna R. Haskins

Sociological Science, April 21, 2014
DOI 10.15195/v1.a11

Though sociologists have examined how mass incarceration affects stratification, remarkably little is known about how it shapes educational disparities. Analyzing the Fragile Families Study and its rich paternal incarceration data, I ask whether black and white children with fathers who have been incarcerated are less prepared for school both cognitively and non-cognitively as a result, and whether racial and gendered disparities in incarceration help explain the persistence of similar gaps in educational outcomes and trajectories. Using a variety of estimation strategies, I show that experiencing paternal incarceration by age five is associated with lower non-cognitive school readiness. While the main effect of incarceration does not vary by race, boys with incarcerated fathers have substantially worse non-cognitive skills at school entry, impacting the likelihood of special education placement at age nine. Mass incarceration facilitates the intergenerational transmission of male behavioral disadvantage, and because of the higher exposure of black children to incarceration, it also plays a role in explaining the persistently low achievement of black boys.

Anna R Haskins: Columbia Populations Research Center, Columbia University. E-mail:

  • Citation: Haskins, Anna R. 2014. “Unintended Consequences: Effects of Paternal Incarceration on Child School Readiness and Later Special Education Placement.” Sociological Science 1: 141-158.
  • Received: February 3, 2014
  • Accepted: February 12, 2014
  • Editors: Jesper Sørensen, Sarah A. Soule
  • DOI: 10.15195/v1.a11

Why Your Friends Are More Important and Special Than You Think

Thomas U. Grund

Sociological Science, April 14, 2014
DOI 10.15195/v1.a10

A large amount of research finds associations between individuals’ attributes and the position of individuals in network structures. In this article, I illustrate how such associations systematically affect the assessment of attributes through network neighbors. The friendship paradox—a general regularity in network contexts, which states that your friends are likely to have more friends than you—becomes relevant and extends to individuals’ attributes as well. First, I show that your friends are likely to be better informed (closeness), better intermediaries (betweenness) and more powerful (eigenvector) than you. Second, I suggest more generally that your friends are likely to be more special in their attributes than the population at large. Finally, I investigate the implications of this phenomenon in a dynamic setting. Applying calibrated agent-based simulations, I use a model of attribute adoption to emphasize how structurally introduced experiences penetrate the trajectory of social processes. Existing research does not yet adequately acknowledge this phenomenon.

Thomas U. Grund: Stockholm University. E-mail:

  • Citation: Thomas U. Grund. 2014. “Why Your Friends Are More Important and Special Than You Think.” Sociological Science 1: 128–140
  • Received: December 14, 2013
  • Accepted: December 27, 2o13
  • Editors: Jesper Sørensen, Ezra Zuckerman
  • DOI: 10.15195/v1.a10


The Spatial Scope of Competition and the Geographical Distribution of Entrepreneurship: Magazine Foundings and the U.S. Post Office

Heather A. Haveman, Christopher I. Rider

Sociological Science, April 8, 2014
DOI 10.15195/v1.a9

We propose that the geographic distribution of entrepreneurship evolves as developing communication systems alter the spatial scope of competition Our arguments imply that as spatial barriers to communication diminish founding events will be less sensitive to local context and more sensitive to distant competition. We test this argument with data on the first modern communication system, the US post office, and foundings of organizations that depended on it for distribution: magazine-publishing ventures. We find that as the postal system expanded, the spatial scope of competition among magazines increased: magazines in distant locations exerted more negative effects on local founding rates, whereas magazines in the focal location exerted less positive effects on local founding rates These findings reveal how spatial barriers to competition shape the geography of entrepreneurial activity.

Heather A. Haveman: University of California, Berkeley. E-mail:

Christopher I. Rider: Emory University. E-mail:

  • Citation: Haveman, Heather A., and Christopher I. Rider. 2014. “The Spatial Scope of Competition and the Geographic Distribution of Entrepreneurship: Magazine Foundings and the U.S. Post Office.” Sociological Science 1: 111-127.
  • Received: September 17, 2013
  • Accepted: October 27, 2013
  • Editors: Jesper Sørensen, Olav Sorenson
  • DOI: 10.15195/v1.a9


Parental Age and Cognitive Disability among Children in the United States

Philip N. Cohen

Sociological Science, April 4, 2014
DOI 10.15195/v1.a8

Some risks of having children at older ages are widely documented, and the “biological clock” is a popular media concern, but the association between cognitive disability generally and both mothers’ and fathers’ age is not well known. This article assesses descriptively the relationship between children’s cognitive disability and parents’ age at birth, using a sample of 353,119 children aged five to eleven living with two married parents from the 2009-2011 American Community Survey. Cognitive disability varied by parental age categories from 1.8 percent to 5.4 percent, with overall rates of 2.2 percent. Odds of disability were much more strongly associated with mothers’ age at birth than with fathers’ age at birth, with the highest odds for children whose mothers were age 45 or higher at the time of their birth (adjusted odds ratio 2.7 relative to age 30 to 34) and the lowest for those born to mothers in their early 30s. These results demonstrate that the risk is strongly associated with the mother’s age at birth—but not the father’s. This is consistent with previous research showing that it is the mother’s health, rather than age per se, that is most important for the health of their children.

Philip N Cohen: Sociology Department, University of Maryland, College Park. E-mail:

  • Citation: Cohen, Philip N. 2014. “Parental Age and Cognitive Disability among Children in the United States.” Sociological Science 1: 102-110
  • Received: September 20, 2013
  • Accepted: December 6, 2013
  • Editors: Jesper Sørensen, Stephen L. Morgan
  • DOI: 10.15195/v1.a8  


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