Areas of Specialization
- Social Inequality/Stratification
- Life Course & Aging
How could we make society more equal? Because the reproduction of privilege between generations is a substantial barrier to equality, I focus on how parents pass on advantages to their children.
- Intergenerational Inequality
HOW IS INEQUALITY TRANSMITTED ACROSS GENERATIONS AND HOW MIGHT THAT PROCESS BE WEAKENED TO REDUCE UNEQUAL OPPORTUNITIES?
......Wealth, education, socialization, and health all convey relative advantage or disadvantage from parents to children or grandparents to grandchildren. With the rise of the knowledge economy, education has become more important for individual chances in the labor market. At the same time, however, college attendance has risen.
.......Increasing education and its importance could promote opportunity and make social origins less important. However, educational quality and quantity are unequal and families with more resources are better able to monopolize the best schools and credentials. Furthermore, credential inflation could weaken the value of college or another level of schooling if it became more equally available. I am interested in the relationship between education and intergenerational mobility. One branch of my research investigates late 19th Century compulsory schooling laws and their effect on intergenerational mobility. Did making school attendance more equal by social class increase occupational opportunity?
.......I am also interested in how behaviors and unequal opportunities early in the life course can generate substantial differences in later life and the next generation. For example, I studied the effect of adolescent employment on teenage childbearing. Early work experiences can influence the chances of having a child as a teenager, with consequences for the individual and her children. Finally, another area of interest is how social environment moderates genetics. This field of research is relatively new, but may help understand the transmission of inequality.