On March 14, Cornell alumni, students, parents, and friends worldwide will join together to raise funds for Cornell and make a historic impact. This year, CSI is excited to participate in Cornell’s Giving Day campaign and raise money to support the increasingly important inequality research conducted by our faculty and students. We need your support and will accept donations of any amount to help us advance our mission. Your donation will: support the popular Minor in Inequality Studies, and help us bring in external experts, policy makers, and Cornell alumni to the capstone Controversies about Inequality course for Minors; create opportunities for undergraduates to work on CSI faculty members’ research projects and to develop new data analytic skills; fund graduate student research projects and data collection efforts; reward excellence in undergraduate research by supporting CSI’s “best honors thesis” award; and help fund a speaker series and workshops that will bring external experts to Cornell to talk about their research and engage the campus community on inequality topics. Please continue reading to learn about what we do!
MINOR IN INEQUALITY STUDIES
CSI’s undergraduate program, the Minor in Inequality Studies, surpassed 250 students enrolled for 2016-2017, our all-time high! Currently, the program has 281 minors enrolled from all seven Cornell colleges!
Controversies about Inequality
This fall, affiliate Anna Haskins will teach the capstone course for the Minor in Inequality Studies, Controversies about Inequality. Typically, guest lectures by faculty from other universities enhance the student experience in this course, and this year is certainly no exception!
The first lecture in the series will be given by Alexes Harris, author of A Pound of Flesh – Monetary Sanctions as Punishment for the Poor. Alexes Harris is Professor of Sociology at the University of Washington. The second lecture in the series will be given by Carla Shedd, author of Unequal City: Race, Schools, and Perceptions of Injustice. Carla Shedd is an Assistant Professor of Sociology at Columbia University. The third lecture in the series will be given by Lisa Wade, author of American Hookup: The New Culture of Sex on Campus. Lisa Wade is an Associate Professor of Sociology at Occidental College.
Last year, CSI established an internship opportunity initiative to support students who wish to extend their education with applied, real-world experience and further develop their analytic skills and knowledge of inequality. We work closely with social research centers to establish new and competitive summer internship positions for our students. This year, we are continuing to work with the Measure of America project of the Social Science Research Council located in Brooklyn, NY to offer two internship positions to students enrolled in the minor in inequality studies. Measure of America is a non-partisan think tank providing tools for understanding well-being and opportunity in the United States and reporting these findings to the public and policy-makers. Measure of America explores well-being and opportunity in the United States using the American Human Development Index, a composite index comprised of indicators on health, education, and living standards. It is one of the only sources of life expectancy calculations for different racial and ethnic groups as well as for states and for smaller populations within states in the US today. Many internship opportunities available to undergraduates are unpaid and unpaid internships assume that students are able to self-fund their living expenses. We are seeking financial support on Cornell Giving Day in part to establish a fund to ensure that students from all socioeconomic backgrounds will be able to use this opportunity. We hope to continue to expand this program in the coming years and need your support!
Social Mobility in an Unequal World: Evidence and Policy Solutions
CSI is excited to announce an upcoming conference on Social Mobility in an Unequal World: Evidence and Policy Solutions to be held from April 20, 2017 – April 22, 2017. David Grusky, Barbara Kimball Browning Professor in the School of Humanities and Sciences; Director, Center on Poverty and Inequality, Stanford University; and co-founder of CSI, will give the opening keynote speech that will be open to the public. Adam Gamoran, President, WT Grant Foundation; MacArthur Professor of Sociology and Educational Policy Studies, Emeritus; Former Director, Wisconsin Center for Education Research, University of Wisconsin-Madison, will give a second keynote speech the following day. Confirmed participants include: Deirdre Bloome, Adam Gamoran, David Grusky, Michelle Jackson, Charles Payne, Fabian Pfeffer, Susan Popkin, Luke Shaefer, Florencia Torche, Herman van der Werfhorst, Pamela Morris, Laura Tach, Daniel Lichter, Vida Maralani, and Kim Weeden.
Executive committee member Kendra Bischoff wrote a policy brief on the Geography of Economic Inequality for the Washington Center for Equitable Growth. Kendra Bischoff, along with Stanford’s Sean Reardon wrote a paper update report on The Continuing Increase in Income Segregation, 2007-12 for Stanford University’s Center for Education Policy Analysis. Affiliate Peter Enns co-wrote a Washington Post Op-Ed on Why the polls missed in 2016: Was it shy Trump supporters after all?. Dr. Enns also co-wrote two NY Times Op-Eds on Did Moderates Help Elect Trump? and Are There Really Hidden Trump Voters?. Affiliate Filiz Garip published an Op-Ed in Reuters on the futility of building a Mexican-US border wall: Spend more on the border? The writing is on the wall. Executive committee member Suzanne Mettler published an Op-Ed on “Why Public Opinion on Obamacare Should Worry Us All,” with Larry Jacobs in The Hill. Affiliate Erin York Cornwell wrote a research brief on how Household Conditions Shape the Maintenance of Social Ties in Later Life for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research (OBSSR): OBSSR Connector Blog. Director Kim Weeden and CSI founder David B. Grusky co-wrote a piece for the Social Science Research Council regarding how tendencies to analyze inequality within disciplinary frames may make it difficult to address key questions about the forms that inequality takes across societies. Read the full piece here: Do Disciplinary Boundaries Keep Us from Asking the Right Questions about Inequality?
Incarceration Nation: How the United States Became the Most Punitive Democracy in the World.
CSI affiliate Peter Enns traces the rise of mass incarceration in the US, showing that since the 1960s, politicians increased punitive policies in response to an increasingly punitive public opinion. Dr. Enns also explains that recent interest in criminal justice reform is a response to a decline in public punitiveness.
On the Move: Changing Mechanisms of Mexico-U.S. Migration
CSI affiliate Filiz Garip published a comprehensive work on Mexico-US migration, debunking the myth that Mexican immigrants are predominantly composed of young, poor, undereducated men seeking better employment opportunities in the US. Using survey data from over 145,000 Mexicans, Garip reveals a more accurate account of Mexico-US migration. She argues that the stereotypical view of Mexican migrants makes them seem undesirable and falls short of capturing the complexity of Mexico-US migration and their evolving patterns over time.
Degrees of Difference: Gender Segregation of US Doctorates by Field and Program Prestige.
Director Kim Weeden and CSI Postdoctoral Fellow, Dafna Gelbgiser, co-published an article that found that women are underrepresented in the highest prestige programs in most fields. Women earn 60 percent of baccalaureate degrees and 46 percent of doctoral degrees in research fields, e.g. STEM, humanities, social sciences. Doctoral degrees are earned evenly by gender, but doctoral education is still deeply segregated by field and program prestige. Using data from all doctorates awarded in the US from 2003 to 2014, the authors found that women are underrepresented in the highest prestige programs in most fields. Field segregation in doctoral education is pronounced, follows a similar pattern as field segregation at the baccalaureate level, and is strongly associate with field-level skills. Mathematics and Economics are the most segregated fields, where there are about 1.5 times more men than women. While they found that prestige segregation is weaker than field segregation, this is still a substantively important finding – about 12 percent of female doctoral students would need to trade programs with men in order to eliminate prestige segregation. This overrepresentation of men in top programs is not surprising given what we know about the mechanisms that put them there in the first place, but because we see that there is little variation in the actual skills necessary to succeed in these fields, we conclude that the overrepresentation of men in the top programs could be explained by the cultural belief that men tend to be better at tasks that require a high level of intellect. Further, top programs tend to recruit their faculty from other top programs. If women are underrepresented in these top doctoral programs to begin with, they will inevitably be underrepresented among the faculty responsible for teaching doctoral students in top programs, barring them from obtaining the higher-paying, higher-prestige jobs. In order to diversify faculty at elite research institutions, efforts should focus on including more women in top doctoral programs. See the full article, here.
The Legacy of the Immigrant Workplace: Lessons for the 21st Century Economy
This semester, CSI will host Leticia Saucedo, U.C. Davis Standard approaches to employment law regulation in low-wage workplaces have overlooked how the structural impediments to full citizenship shape these workers’ experience. Citizens in the workplace are able to exercise fully the workplace rights provided by statute, regulation and common law. But these regulations begin with the assumption that all employees are free to enter and exit the labor market as they see fit. This narrative takes the level of freedom and the citizenship rights of the employee entering the workplace as a given – unchanging and equally applicable to all employees. This presentation will explore how this narrative has failed in the case of immigrant workers and discuss the lessons we can derive from the immigrant worker experience for the emerging gig economy of the 21st century.
Deregulated Disparities: The Political Economy of Racial Health Disparities
This semester, CSI hosted Abigail A. Sewell, Assistant Professor of Sociology at Emory University to discuss her current work on race and health. Dr. Sewell’s recent work examines the link between recent deregulation policies on the subprime mortgage market, including foreclosures, and the ethnoracial disparities in health by status and context. This talk was co-sponsored by the Cornell Population Center.
Immigration Policy Panel Discussion: Understanding President Trump’s Executive Order
This semester, CSI faculty affiliate Matthew Hall moderated a panel discussion as a means to respond to students’ concerns surrounding President Trumps Executive Order on Immigration. Dr. Hall was joined on the panel by Steve Yale-Loehr, an adjunct professor at the Cornell Law School and one of the nation’s lead experts on immigration policy; Brendan O’Brien, the director of Cornell’s International Student and Scholars Office (ISSO); and Raza Rumi, a Pakistani author who fled to the US following a failed assassination attempt and now serves as a visiting lecturer at CIPA.
Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City
Last semester, CSI hosted 2015 MacArthur “Genius” Scholar, Matthew Desmond, John L. Loeb Associate Professor of the Social Sciences at Harvard University, to give two talks on his best-selling, award-winning book, Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City. Evicted is both brilliant and heartbreaking. Dr. Desmond takes the reader to the poorest areas of Milwaukee, detailing the experiences of families living through repeated evictions and struggling to gain housing. Desmond ties these individual experiences to the larger national trend of evictions, illuminating how eviction has become “ordinary” for single mothers. He suggests that as mass-incarceration has affected numerous men, similarly, eviction has affected women. Throughout the event, we accepted donations on behalf of Tompkins Community Action (TCA), a local not-for-profit organization committed to assisting low-income households and individuals in Tompkins County. We successfully raised over $200 for this organization. The director of TCA, Lee Dillon, gave a wonderful introduction to Dr. Desmond’s talk, offering figures on local housing disparities to situate this `work within a local context. Immediately following the event, we hosted a reception and book-signing, thanks to local bookseller: Buffalo Street Books. Over 700 persons attended the event. This event was co-sponsored by the Institute for the Social Sciences and the University Lectures Committee.