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  1. Study Finds EITC Bolsters Recipients’ Self-Respect While Helping Them Financially

    America's welfare state is quietly evolving from needs-based to an employment-based safety net that rewards working families and fuels dreams of a better life, indicates a new study led by a Michigan State University (MSU) scholar.

    The major reason: the little-known Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), a $65 billion federal tax-relief program for poor, working families. The program has been expanded dramatically during the past 25 years, while cash welfare has been sharply curtailed.

  2. Keep Your Enemies Close? Study Finds Greater Proximity to Opponents Leads to More Polarization

    Encouraging adversaries to have more interpersonal contact to find common ground may work on occasion, but not necessarily in the U.S. Senate, according to new research.

  3. The Theory of Legal Cynicism and Sunni Insurgent Violence in Post-Invasion Iraq

    We elaborate a cultural framing theory of legal cynicism—previously used to account for neighborhood variation in Chicago homicides—to explain Arab Sunni victimization and insurgent attacks during the U.S. post-invasion occupation of Iraq. Legal cynicism theory has an unrecognized power to explain collective and interpersonal violence in international as well as U.S. settings. We expand on how "double and linked" roles of state and non-state actors can be used to analyze violence against Arab Sunni civilians.

  4. Through the Contested Terrain: Implementation of Downsizing Announcements by Large U.S. Firms, 1984 to 2005

    Since the 1980s, leading U.S. firms have announced massive downsizing plans in the name of maximizing shareholder value, but some observers are skeptical about how serious firms are in implementing these plans. Building on political theories of corporate governance, I examine how conflicts of interest and alignment among investors, workers, and top managers affect the implementation of announced downsizing plans.

  5. The Great and the Small: The Impact of Collective Action on the Evolution of Board Interlocks after the Panic of 1907

    Conventional research in organizational theory highlights the role of board interlocks in facilitating business collective action. In this article, I propose that business collective action affects the evolutionary path of interlock networks. In particular, large market players’ response after a collective action to the classic problem of the "exploitation" of the great by the small provides a mechanism for interlocks to evolve.

  6. Ripples of Fear: The Diffusion of a Bank Panic

    Community reactions against organizations can be driven by negative information spread through a diffusion process that is distinct from the diffusion of organizational practices. Bank panics offer a classic example of selective diffusion of negative information. Bank panics involve widespread bank runs, although a low proportion of banks experience a run. We develop theory on how organizational similarity, community similarity, and network proximity create selective diffusion paths for resistance against organizations.

  7. Why and How Inequality Matters

    In this article, I share some thoughts about how we might extend the study of mental health inequalities by drawing from key insights in sociology and sociological social psychology about the nature of inequality and the processes through which it is produced, maintained, and resisted. I suggest several questions from sociological research on stratification that could help us understand unexpected patterns of mental health inequalities.

  8. Research Opportunities

    Social psychology offers abundant opportunities for developing new understandings through research. In my career, many people and circumstances have brought opportunities that initiated, supported, and improved investigations. I illustrate that process with selected instances from my research on interpersonal behavior, theory development, and applications of theoretical work. Our field demonstrates many ways that explicit theory is preferable to common sense, and it also shows the importance of caution and discipline in applying theoretical knowledge for practical ends.

  9. Justice Standard Determines Emotional Responses to Over-Reward

    How do people feel when they benefit from an unfair reward distribution? Equity theory predicts negative emotion in response to over-reward, but sociological research using referential standards of justice drawn from status-value theory repeatedly finds positive emotional responses to over-reward.

  10. Discrimination in Lending Markets: Status and the Intersections of Gender and Race

    Research documents that lenders discriminate between loan applicants in traditional and peer-to-peer lending markets, yet we lack knowledge about the mechanisms driving lenders’ behavior. I offer one possible mechanism: When lenders assess borrowers, they are implicitly guided by cultural stereotypes about the borrowers’ status. This systematically steers lenders toward funding higher status groups even when applicants have the same financial histories.