SAGE Journal Articles

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Briscoe and Kellogg, The Initial Assignment Effect: Local Employer Practices and Positive Career Outcomes for Work-Family Program Users. American Sociological Review 76(2) 291–319, American Sociological Association 2011.

One of the great paradoxes of inequality in organizations is that even when organizations introduce new programs designed to help employees in traditionally disadvantaged groups succeed, employees who use these programs often suffer negative career consequences. This study helps to fill a significant gap in the literature by investigating how local employer practices can enable employees to successfully use the programs designed to benefit them. Using a research approach that controls for regulatory environment and program design, we analyze unique longitudinal personnel data from a large law firm to demonstrate that assignment to powerful supervisors upon organization entry improves career outcomes for individuals who later use a reduced-hours program. Additionally, we find that initial assignment to powerful supervisors is more important to positive career outcomes—that is, employee retention and performance-based pay—than are factors such as supervisor assignment at the time of program use. Initial assignment affects career outcomes for later program users through the mechanism of improved access to reputation-building work opportunities. These findings have implications for research on work-family programs and other employee-rights programs and for the role of social capital in careers.

Hwang and Sampson, Divergent Pathways of Gentrification: Racial Inequality and the Social Order of Renewal in Chicago Neighborhoods. American Sociological Review 2014, Vol. 79(4) 726–751. © American Sociological Association 2014.

Gentrification has inspired considerable debate, but direct examination of its uneven evolution across time and space is rare. We address this gap by developing a conceptual framework on the social pathways of gentrification and introducing a method of systematic social observation using Google Street View to detect visible cues of neighborhood change. We argue that a durable racial hierarchy governs residential selection and, in turn, gentrifying neighborhoods. Integrating census data, police records, prior street-level observations, community surveys, proximity to amenities, and city budget data on capital investments, we find that the pace of gentrification in Chicago from 2007 to 2009 was negatively associated with the concentration of blacks and Latinos in neighborhoods that either showed signs of gentrification or were adjacent and still disinvested in 1995. Racial composition has a threshold effect, however, attenuating gentrification when the share of blacks in a neighborhood is greater than 40 percent. Consistent with theories of neighborhood stigma, we also find that collective perceptions of disorder, which are higher in poor minority neighborhoods, deter gentrification, while observed disorder does not. These results help explain the reproduction of neighborhood racial inequality amid urban transformation.