208 Townshend Hall
1885 Neil Avenue Mall
Areas of Expertise
- Gender, Race, & Class
- Work, Economy, & Organizations
- Community & Urban
- Ph.D., University of Wisconsin-Madison, 2003
Social inequality, urban sociology, work and occupations, economic sociology. Current research focuses on rising inequality and the stratification structure in American society in several social arenas, including housing segregation, neighborhood inequality, youth indebtedness, and the characteristics and determinants of employment growth.
I study the causes and consequences of rising economic inequality in American society. I started studying inequality in jobs and wages, but inequalities have a habit of being highly intertwined and so pulling on the thread of labor market inequality eventually led me to study housing disparities, neighborhood disadvantage, and wealth and debt inequalities as well. My work on job inequality shows that middle-wage jobs are growing much more slowly than upper and lower wage jobs in America—and much more slowly than in the past—polarizing the American employment structure between the best and worst jobs. What are the consequences of this change? Well for one, I’ve found that our neighborhoods have also polarized as affluent people have increasingly moved away from poor and middle class people. Rising indebtedness is linked too as middle class families have fewer resources to give their kids a leg up and many rely on debt to pick up the slack, issues I have been exploring in my recent research with my colleague Randy Hodson and others. Inequality in America is a difficult knot to unravel, but that makes it all the more interesting to keep pulling on the threads.