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RSF Review

RSF Review

Call for Papers in Behavioral Economics

December 17, 2014

On July 8-9, 2015, the Russell Sage Foundation will sponsor a Conference for Early-Career Behavioral Economists in Chicago. The goals of this conference are to allow early-career researchers to present research and receive feedback and to help develop a community of junior behavioral economists.

Any early-career behavioral economist can apply. This includes graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, and assistant professors who received their Ph.D. after Spring 2010. We expect to select about 20 presenters. Please submit an abstract of about 1000 words of the proposed paper and an abbreviated CV (5 pages maximum) by January 31, 2015, to If financial assistance is needed in order for you to participate, please provide details in a cover letter, including whether your university may provide funding to cover some of your expenses.

Political Party Identification Among Latino Immigrants

December 15, 2014

This feature is part of an ongoing RSF blog series, Work in Progress, which highlights some of the ongoing research of our current class of Visiting Scholars.

In his time in residence at the Russell Sage Foundation, Visiting Scholar James McCann (Purdue University) is writing a book on the effects of political campaigns in fostering partisan identification among Latino immigrants. Though other research on this topic has shown immigrants to be generally estranged from party politics, McCann finds considerable “potential” partisanship among immigrants.

In October, McCann responded to a claim in the Washington Post that suggested that lighter-skinned Latinos were more likely than darker-skinned Latinos to identify as Republican. He rejected this notion, offering a breakdown of the data used to track the correlation between skin color and partisanship, and concluding, “Is there in fact such a relationship? The 2012 American National Election Study offers scant evidence of this.”

In an interview with the Foundation, McCann provided some further remarks on party identification among Latinos, and discussed his research on the political incorporation of new immigrants to the United States.

Andrew Cherlin on Income Inequality and the Marriage Gap

December 12, 2014

A new RSF book by Johns Hopkins sociologist Andrew Cherlin, Labor’s Love Lost, provides an in-depth historical assessment of the rise and fall of working-class families in America. While industrial occupations were once plentiful and sustained middle-class families, they have all but vanished over the past forty years. As Cherlin shows, in their absence, ever-growing numbers of young adults now hold precarious, low-paid jobs with few fringe benefits. Facing such insecure economic prospects, less-educated young adults are increasingly forgoing marriage and are having children within unstable cohabiting relationships. This has created a large marriage gap between them and their more affluent, college-educated peers.

In a review of Labor’s Love Lost for TIME, Belinda Luscombe notes, “What Cherlin finds that this is not the first time that there has been a wide disparity between the marital fortunes of the rich and the poor: the situation looked similar during the last Gilded Age. Inequality in bank accounts and in marital status go hand in hand.” As the graph below shows, marriage disparities widen in times of significant income inequality:

Source: New York Times

Fall 2014 Presidential Authority Awards in Social Inequality and the Future of Work

December 5, 2014

The Russell Sage Foundation has recently approved the following Presidential Authority awards in two key programs, Social Inequality and the Future of Work. Click the titles below to read more about each award.

RSF Authors Discuss Obama’s Executive Order on Immigration

November 25, 2014

On November 21, President Obama delivered an historic executive order to protect 5 million undocumented immigrants from deportation. “Today,” he stated, “our immigration system is broken, and everybody knows it.” Citing the ongoing political deadlock in Congress as a major barrier to the implementation of meaningful immigration reform, the president announced a set of actions designed to grant temporary relief from deportation to undocumented parents of US-born children, high-skilled immigrant workers and graduate students, and others.

Several RSF authors and immigration experts participated in a recent roundtable discussion on The Conversation about the executive order, which has drawn fire from Republican leaders. Katharine Donato, co-author of the forthcoming RSF publication Gender and International Migration (2015), applauded the president for taking “action that many families have desperately needed.” She continued, “Most of us don’t understand how damaging the fear of deportation is. But for the last two decades, many immigrant parents—with children who are US citizens—have lived with this very real fear every day.”

New Awards Approved in Core RSF Programs

November 19, 2014

Thirteen new research projects in the Russell Sage Foundation’s Behavioral Economics, Social Inequality, Immigration, and the Future of Work programs were recently funded at the Foundation’s November 2014 meeting of the Board of Trustees.

The Foundation’s Behavioral Economics program supports research that incorporates the insights of psychology and other social sciences into the study of economic behavior. The following projects were recently funded under the program:

Robert Solow Awarded Presidential Medal of Freedom

November 11, 2014

On November 10, President Obama announced the nineteen recipients of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor. Included among them was economist Robert Solow, the Russell Sage Foundation’s Robert K. Merton Scholar and Institute Professor Emeritus at MIT.

“Robert Solow is one of the most widely respected economists of the past 60 years,” the White House said of the scholar, who received the Nobel Prize in economics in 1987. “His research in the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s transformed the field, laying the groundwork for much of modern economics. He continues to influence policymakers, demonstrating how smart investments, especially in new technology, can build broad-based prosperity, and he continues to actively participate in contemporary debates about inequality and economic growth.”

Diversity and Disparities: Residential Segregation by Income

November 6, 2014

Diversity and Disparities, edited by sociologist John Logan, assembles impressive new studies that interpret the population, labor market, and housing market changes in the U.S. over the last decade. The book, now available for free download in its entirety from the Russell Sage Foundation, raises concerns about the extent of socioeconomic immobility in the United States today, showing how the U.S.—while more diverse than ever before—has also witnessed a significant rise in economic inequality. Drawing on detailed data from the decennial census, the American Community Survey, and other sources, the leading social scientists featured in the book chart the deepening disparities among different groups in the U.S.

In their chapter on residential segregation, Kendra Bischoff and Sean F. Reardon explore the rise of class segregation within racial groups as higher-income Americans move away from others into separate and privileged neighborhoods and communities. They find that since the 1970s, black and Hispanic families have lived in increasingly income-segregated communities. As the graph below shows, four decades ago, income segregation among African Americans in metropolitan areas was lower than that of other racial groups. By 2009, it had risen to the highest—65% greater than that of white families:

Unequal Time Featured in NBC News, the Guardian, and Elsewhere

November 3, 2014

A new Russell Sage Foundation book, Unequal Time, has gained significant press coverage over the past few weeks, including profiles in The Nation and Slate, and op-eds by authors Dan Clawson and Naomi Gerstel in The Guardian and The American Prospect. In their book, Clawson and Gerstel illustrate how social inequalities permeate the workplace and exacerbate differences between men and women, the privileged and disadvantaged. They investigate the connected schedules of four health sector occupations: professional doctors and nurses, and working-class EMTs and nursing assistants. Though these workers all experience schedule uncertainty, they do so in distinct ways that vary by gender and class.

In a Q&A with NBC News, Clawson noted, “The thing about health care is that there has to be someone on duty all the time. You can’t have a nurse walk off and have the patients not covered for an hour. That’s uncontroversial, but the way that plays out is unequal by gender and class, and it’s absolutely unsustainable for the lives of low wage workers and women.”