This study extends research on the consequences of mass imprisonment and the causes of children's behavioral problems by considering the effects of paternal incarceration on children's physical aggression at age 5 using data from the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study. Results suggest that paternal incarceration is associated with increased physical aggression for boys, and that effects are concentrated among boys whose fathers were neither incarcerated for a violent offense nor abusive to the boys' mother. Results also suggest that paternal incarceration may decrease girls' physical aggression, although this finding is not robust. Taken together, results imply that mass imprisonment may contribute to a system of stratification in which crime and incarceration are passed down from fathers to sons (but not daughters).
We use data from a nationally representative survey to analyze anti-atheist sentiment in the United States in 2014, replicating analyses from a decade earlier and extending them to consider the factors that foster negative sentiment toward other non-religious persons. We find that anti-atheist sentiment is strong, persistent, and driven in part by moral concerns about atheists and in part by agreement with cultural values that affirm religiosity as a constitutive moral grounding of citizenship and national identity. Moral concerns about atheists also spill over to shape attitudes toward those who are spiritual but not religious (SBNRs) and influence evaluations of the recent decline in religious identification. Americans have more positive views of SBNRs than of atheists, but a plurality of Americans still negatively evaluate the increase in the percentage of Americans who claim no religious identification (nones). Our analyses show the continuing centrality of religiously rooted moral boundary-making in constituting cultural membership in the American context.
This paper examines populist claims-making in US presidential elections. We define populism as a discursive strategy that juxtaposes the virtuous populace with a corrupt elite and views the former as the sole legitimate source of political power. In contrast to past research, we argue that populism is best operationalized as an attribute of political claims rather than a stable ideological property of political actors. This analytical strategy allows us to systematically measure how the use of populism is affected by a variety of contextual factors. Our empirical case consists of 2,406 speeches given by American presidential candidates between 1952 and 1996, which we code using automated text analysis. Populism is shown to be a common feature of presidential politics among both Democrats and Republicans, but its prevalence varies with candidates' relative positions in the political field. In particular, we demonstrate that the probability of a candidate's reliance on populist claims is directly proportional to his distance from the center of power (in this case, the presidency). This suggests that populism is primarily a strategic tool of political challengers, and particularly those who have legitimate claims to outsider status. By examining temporal changes in populist claims-making on the political left and right, its variation across geographic regions and field positions, and the changing content of populist frames, our paper contributes to the debate on populism in modern democracies, while integrating field theory with the study of institutional politics.
Racial inequality in economic outcomes, particularly among the college educated, persists throughout US society. Scholars debate whether this inequality stems from racial differences in human capital (e.g., college selectivity, GPA, college major) or employer discrimination against black job candidates. However, limited measures of human capital and the inherent difficulties in measuring discrimination using observational data make determining the cause of racial differences in labor-market outcomes a difficult endeavor. In this research, I examine employment opportunities for white and black graduates of elite top-ranked universities versus high-ranked but less selective institutions. Using an audit design, I create matched candidate pairs and apply for 1,008 jobs on a national job-search website. I also exploit existing birth-record data in selecting names to control for differences across social class within racialized names. The results show that although a credential from an elite university results in more employer responses for all candidates, black candidates from elite universities only do as well as white candidates from less selective universities. Moreover, race results in a double penalty: When employers respond to black candidates, it is for jobs with lower starting salaries and lower prestige than those of white peers. These racial differences suggest that a bachelor's degree, even one from an elite institution, cannot fully counteract the importance of race in the labor market. Thus, both discrimination and differences in human capital contribute to racial economic inequality.
Millions of families across the United States are evicted each year. Yet, we know next to nothing about the impact eviction has on their lives. Focusing on low-income urban mothers, a population at high risk of eviction, this study is among the first to examine rigorously the consequences of involuntary displacement from housing. Applying two methods of propensity score analyses to data from a national survey, we find that eviction has negative effects on mothers in multiple domains. Compared to matched mothers who were not evicted, mothers who were evicted in the previous year experienced more material hardship, were more likely to suffer from depression, reported worse health for themselves and their children, and reported more parenting stress. Some evidence suggests that at least two years after their eviction, mothers still experienced significantly higher rates of material hardship and depression than peers.
Most sociological research assumes that social network composition shapes individual beliefs. Network theory and research has not adequately considered that internalized cultural worldviews might affect network composition. Drawing on a synthetic, dual-process theory of culture and two waves of nationally-representative panel data, this article shows that worldviews are strong predictors of changes in network composition among U.S. youth. These effects are robust to the influence of other structural factors, including prior network composition and behavioral homophily. By contrast, there is little evidence that networks play a strong proximate role in shaping worldviews. This suggests that internalized cultural dispositions play an important role in shaping the interpersonal environment and that the dynamic link between culture and social structure needs to be reconsidered.
This paper examines the contribution of peer relations to delinquency from the perspective of two sociological traditions: socialization/normative influence and opportunity. Earlier studies have likely overestimated normative influence by relying on respondents' reports about their friends' behaviors rather than obtaining independent assessments and by inadequately controlling for the tendency to select peers who are similar to oneself. Using detailed social network data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health, we find support for both the socialization and opportunity models. Adolescents engage in higher rates of delinquency if they have highly delinquent friends and if they spend a great deal of time in unstructured socializing with friends. Yet our results also indicate that (1) the normative influence of peers on delinquency is more limited than indicated by most previous studies, (2) normative influence is not increased by being more closely attached to friends or spending more time with them, (3) the contribution of opportunity is independent from normative influence and of comparable importance, and (4) influences from the peer domain do not mediate the influences of age, gender, family or school.
To assess heterogeneity in the influence of genetic variation on educational attainment across environmental contexts, we present a meta-analysis of heritability estimates in fifteen samples and thirty-four subgroups differing by nationality, sex, and birth cohort. We find that heritability, shared environment, and unshared environment each explain a substantial percentage of the variance in attainment across all countries, with between-sample heterogeneity in all three variance components. Although we observe only meager differences in the total family effect by cohort or sex, we observe large cohort and sex differences in the composition of the family effect, consistent with a history of higher heritability of educational attainment for males and for individuals born in the latter half of the twentieth century. Heritability also varies significantly by nation, with the direction of variation specific by sample. We find a markedly larger impact of shared environment on attainment than has been found for other social outcomes, with the percent of variation in attainment attributable to shared environment exceeding the percent attributable to heritability in one-third of the studies in our sample. Our findings demonstrate the heritability of educational attainment to be environmentally contingent, affirm the widespread and enduring role of shared environment in determining ultimate socioeconomic attainment, and emphasize the importance of considering behavioral genetics techniques in models of social mobility.
Existing research shows that women's employment patterns are not driven so much by gender as by motherhood, with childless people and fathers employed at substantially higher levels than mothers in most countries. We focus on the cross-national variation in the gap in employment participation and working hours between mothers and childless women. Controlling for individual- and household-level factors, we provide evidence that institutional and cultural contexts shape maternal employment. Well-paid leaves, publicly supported childcare services for very young children, and cultural support for maternal employment predict smaller differences in employment participation and working hours between mothers and childless women. Yet, extended leave, notably when unpaid, is associated with larger motherhood employment gaps.
We summarize prior theories on the adaptation process of the contemporary immigrant second generation as a prelude to presenting additive and interactive models showing the impact of family variables, school contexts and academic outcomes on the process. For this purpose, we regress indicators of educational and occupational achievement in early adulthood on predictors measured three and six years earlier. The Children of Immigrants Longitudinal Study, used for the analysis, allows us to establish a clear temporal order among exogenous predictors and the two dependent variables. We also construct a Downward Assimilation Index, based on six indicators and regress it on the same set of predictors. Results confirm a pattern of segmented assimilation in the second generation, with a significant proportion of the sample experiencing downward assimilation. Predictors of the latter are the obverse of those of educational and occupational achievement. Significant interaction effects emerge between these predictors and early school contexts, defined by different class and racial compositions. Implications of these results for theory and policy are examined.
Previous research has shown that the transition to parenthood is a critical lifecourse stage. Using data from the Household, Income, and Labour Dynamics in Australia Survey and fixed-effects panel regression models, we investigate changes in men's and women's attitudes to mothering and gender divisions of labor following the transition to parenthood. Key findings indicate that attitudes become more traditional after individuals experience the birth of their first child, with both men and women becoming more likely to support mothering as women's most important role in life. We argue that these changes are due to both changes in identity and cognitive beliefs associated with the experience of becoming a parent, as well as institutional arrangements that support traditional gender divisions. More broadly, our results can be taken as strong evidence that attitudes are not stable over the life course and change with the experience of life events.
Cross-national research finds that "shadow education" educational activities outside of formal schooling-tends to confer advantages on already privileged students. Shadow education in the United States, such as test prep for college entrance exams, has received considerably less attention. Drawing on the National Education Longitudinal Study, we analyze the likelihood of participation in, and the implications of, SAT preparation. Social class inequalities in test preparation, particularly costly SAT courses and private tutoring, are notable and have at least moderate consequences for SAT scores and selective college enrollment. We also find racial/ethnic variations in the use of test preparation. We consider the implications of these findings for understanding shadow education, stratification and educational mobility in the United States.
Guided by theories and empirical research on intergenerational relationships, we examine the phenomenon of grandparents caring for grandchildren in contemporary China. Using a longitudinal dataset (China Health and Nutrition Survey), we document a high level of structural and functional solidarity in grandparent-grandchildren relationships. Intergenerational solidarity is indicated by a high rate of coresidence between grandchildren and grandparents, a sizable number of skipped-generation households (no parent present), extensive childcare involvement by non-coresidential grandparents, and a large amount of care provided by coresidential grandparents. Multivariate analysis further suggests that grandparents' childcare load is adaptive to familial needs, as reflected by the characteristics of the household, household members and work activities of the mothers.
This paper presents a large-scale, comprehensive test of generalized trust across 31 nations. I pay particular attention to the theory and measurement of voluntary associations in promoting trust, hypothesizing that voluntary associations connected to other voluntary associations are more beneficial for the creation of generalized trust than associations isolated from other associations. The theory is tested with a multi-level, cross-national model, including both individual-level and country-level variables to predict the placement of trust. At the individual level, I find that membership in connected associations creates more trust than membership in isolated associations. At the national level, having more connected voluntary associations increases trust, while having more isolated associations decreases trust.
This analysis uses nationally representative time diary data from 1965, 1975 and 1998 to examine trends and gender differences in time use. Women continue to do more household labor than men; however, men have substantially increased time in core household activities such as cooking, cleaning and daily child care. Nonetheless, a 30-minute-per-day free-time gap has emerged. Women and men appear to be selectively investing unpaid work time in the tasks that construct family life while spending less time in routine tasks, suggesting that the symbolic meaning of unpaid work may be shifting. At the same time, access to free time has emerged as an arena of time inequality.
We follow female college graduates in the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1979 and compare the trajectories of women in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM)-related occupations to other professional occupations. Results show that women in STEM occupations are significantly more likely to leave their occupational field than professional women, especially early in their career, while few women in either group leave jobs to exit the labor force. Family factors cannot account for the differential loss of STEM workers compared to other professional workers. Few differences in job characteristics emerge either, so these cannot account for the disproportionate loss of STEM workers. What does emerge is that investments and job rewards that generally stimulate field commitment, such as advanced training and high job satisfaction, fail to build commitment among women in STEM.
Tracked educational systems are associated with greater social inequality in children's educational achievement. Until now, research has assumed that the impact of tracking on the inequality of educational opportunity is independent of other educational institutional features. Using data from the 2009 PISA survey, we study how central examinations affect the association between tracking and inequality. We find that parental socioeconomic status has a larger effect on student achievement in systems without central examinations, whereas in systems with central examinations, this relationship is attenuated. We argue that central examinations help hold schools accountable for their performance, which (1) encourages schools to allocate students to tracks on the basis of more objective indicators and (2) makes it likely for schools to invest more in lower-track students. Thus, central exams attenuate the stronger impact of parental status on children's performance in tracked educational systems.
Many Americans exhibit declining religiosity during early adulthood. There is no consensus about why this occurs, though longstanding assumptions suggest the secularizing effects of higher education, normative deviance and life course factors. We evaluate these effects on decreasing frequency of religious practice, diminished importance of religion and disaffiliation from religion altogether. Results from analyses of the Add Health study indicate that only religious participation suffers substantial declines in young adulthood. Contrary to expectations, emerging adults that avoid college exhibit the most extensive patterns of religious decline, undermining conventional wisdom about the secularizing effect of higher education. Marriage curbs religious decline, while cohabitation, nonmarital sex, drugs and alcohol use each accelerate diminished religiosity - especially religious participation - during early adulthood.
Prior research suggests a correlation between incarceration and marital dissolution, although questions remain as to why this association exists. Is it the stigma associated with "doing time" that drives couples apart? Or is it simply the duration of physical separation that leads to divorce? This research utilizes data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth (NLSY79) and the Survey of Officer and Enlisted Personnel to shed light on these questions. The findings generally support a separation explanation of the incarceration-divorce relationship. Specifically, the data show that exposure to incarceration has no effect on marital dissolution after duration of incarceration is taken into account. In addition, across both datasets we find that individuals who spend substantial time away from spouses are at higher risk of divorce. The findings point to the importance of spousal separation for understanding the incarceration-marital dissolution relationship. Moreover, and in contrast to settings in which stigma appears quite salient (e.g., labor markets), our results suggest that the shared history and degree of intimacy among married partners may weaken the salience of the stigma of incarceration. Findings are discussed in the context of a burgeoning body of work on the collateral consequences of incarceration and have implications for the growing pool of men in American society returning from prison.