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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. 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.

  3. Brokers and the Earnings of Female Sex Workers in India

    This study examines whether working with a broker increases or reduces the payment received for the last client among female sex workers. Building on research on the informal economy and sex work, we formulate a positive embeddedness hypothesis, expecting a positive association, and an exploitation hypothesis, expecting a negative association. We analyze a large survey combined with intensive interview data on female sex workers in Andhra Pradesh, India. These data uniquely distinguish between the amount the sex worker actually received and the amount the client paid.

  4. Tradition and Innovation in Scientists' Research Strategies

    What factors affect a scientist’s choice of research problem? Qualitative research in the history and sociology of science suggests that this choice is patterned by an "essential tension" between productive tradition and risky innovation. We examine this tension through Bourdieu’s field theory of science, and we explore it empirically by analyzing millions of biomedical abstracts from MEDLINE. We represent the evolving state of chemical knowledge with networks extracted from these abstracts. We then develop a typology of research strategies on these networks.

  5. Rage against the Iron Cage: The Varied Effects of Bureaucratic Personnel Reforms on Diversity

    Organization scholars since Max Weber have argued that formal personnel systems can prevent discrimination. We draw on sociological and psychological literatures to develop a theory of the varied effects of bureaucratic reforms on managerial motivation. Drawing on self-perception and cognitive-dissonance theories, we contend that initiatives that engage managers in promoting diversity—special recruitment and training programs—will increase diversity.

  6. Sociological Inquiry into Mental Health: The Legacy of Leonard I. Pearlin

    As a tribute to the body of work created by our late colleague Leonard I. Pearlin, this essay assesses how the evolution of the Stress Process Model, the centerpiece of his work, repeatedly reinvented sociological research on stress and mental health and explains why this model, therefore, possesses the potential to renew itself well into the future.

  7. Reward Stability Promotes Group Commitment

    A pressing problem for the social sciences is to understand the processes leading to commitment within organizational settings. Toward this end, we argue for the stability of rewards derived from groups as a key dimension of commitment. We present a theory that links reward stability to justice evaluations and corresponding emotional reactions, which in turn predict group commitment. From this theory, we derive several hypotheses, the key one being that justice evaluations and corresponding emotional reactions explain the effect of reward stability on commitment.

  8. Is Trust Rigid or Malleable? A Laboratory Experiment

    An important debate within the trust literature is whether trust is modified by social experiences or resistant to change despite changing social circumstances. We address this debate by designing and implementing an experiment that exposes participants to a high or low trust environment and compares their change in generalized trust. We find that the experimental condition influences change in generalized trust, particularly for participants whose prior level of trust was mismatched with their experimental condition.

  9. The Contingent Value of Embeddedness: Self-affirming Social Environments, Network Density, and Well-being

    Social capital theorists claim that belonging to a densely knit social network creates a shared identity, mutually beneficial exchange, trust, and a sense of belonging in that group. Taken together with the empirical research on the importance of social support and social integration for individuals’ well-being, there is reason to expect that the density of one’s personal social network should be positively related to well-being.

  10. Defining the State from within: Boundaries, Schemas, and Associational Policymaking

    A growing literature posits the importance of boundaries in structuring social systems. Yet sociologists have not adequately theorized one of the most fraught and consequential sites of boundary-making in contemporary life: the delineation of the official edges of the government—and, consequently, of state from society. This article addresses that gap by theorizing the mechanisms of state boundary formation. In so doing, we extend culturalist theories of the state by providing a more specific model of how the state-society boundary is produced.