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Mark D. Hayward, Director 305 E. 23rd Street, Stop G1800 78712-1699 • 512-471-5514

Socioeconomic Inequality and Work

Area Projects

Collaborative Research: Early Career Transitions into STEM Employment: Processes Shaping Retention and Satisfaction

Principal Investigator: Jennifer Glass; Co-Principal Investigator: Catherine Riegle-Crumb
Funded by: National Science Foundation

Contemporary debates about STEM education and the STEM labor force center around claims that there is both a shortage of trained workers for the scientific and technical needs of employers, and that this shortage could be ameliorated with larger numbers of women and minorities trained in STEM disciplines where they are currently underrepresented. Our primary research questions deal with both issues by first investigating the transition from STEM education into the labor force for women and men, and then investigating the role of employment conditions, alternative job opportunities, and workplace climate for retention. Our goal is to understand the large gender difference in occupational retention among STEM graduates in the early career, and the results of field departures for women’s and men’s occupational success and earnings.

High School and Beyond: Human Capital over the Life Cycle as a Foundation for Working Longer

Principal Investigator: Chandra Muller
Co-Principal Investigators: Sandra E. Black, Eric Grodsky (University of Wisconsin), and John Robert Warren (University of Minnesota)
Additional Investigators: Robert Hummer, Kelly Raley, Catherine Riegle-Crumb, Debra Umberson
Funded by: Alfred P. Sloan Foundation

This project is re-contacting and studying the lives of the nationally representative High School and Beyond (HSB) sophomore sample members just before most turn 50 years old. Rich information about respondents' cognitive and non-cognitive skills and other aspects of their lives collected in the high school and postsecondary years will be linked to newly collected information about their current cognitive and non-cognitive skills, work, health, family roles, and retirement planning at midlife. The new database will be used to study a number of issues related to the consequences for midlife labor force participation of adolescent and early adult circumstances and characteristics. The project will increase our knowledge of the relationships among work, aging, and cognitive and non-cognitive functioning over the life cycle. The historical period occupied by the HSB cohort provides a unique opportunity to study the effects of labor market demand shocks (including the Great Recession) and technological change and computerization on employment patterns for different population subgroups. Re-contacting respondents will provide crucial proof-of-concept and baseline measures for future data collection as respondents' age. The new data infrastructure, composed of a robust database and a multidisciplinary community of users, will support cutting-edge research in a broad set of disciplines, from economics, sociology and demography to health and aging, family studies, education, organizational behavior, psychology, and even extending to more distal fields of genetics, medicine (general and disease specific), criminology and other areas that touch on labor force concerns among older workers.

Does Financialization Contribute to Growing Income Inequality?

Principal Investigator: Ken-Hou Lin
Additional Investigators: Donald Tomaskovic-Devey, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, parent project PI, UT-Austin subcontract
Funded by: The Institute for Economic Thinking

The financialization of the US economy and rising income inequalities are two of the most profound economic developments of the last fifty years. In this project we ask if the financialization of the US economy has contributed to rising income inequality.  We propose to answer this question with complementary analyses at the individual, firm and industry levels.  We focus on three components of the earnings distribution: employment earnings distributions, executive compensation, and capital/labor shares of value added. For firms we also examine the consequences of financialization for global and domestic employment and for domestic employment separately for various occupational groups.


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