Faculty Affiliates of CSI have published hundreds of articles and dozens of books that draw attention to the most pressing problems and controversies in the field of inequality.

Incarceration NationPeter K. Enns

“The rise of mass incarceration in the United States is one of the most critical outcomes of the last half-century. Incarceration Nation offers the most compelling explanation of this outcome to date. This book combines in-depth analysis of Barry Goldwater and Richard Nixon’s presidential campaigns with sixty years of data analysis. The result is a sophisticated and highly accessible picture of the rise of mass incarceration.” (See full description here)




Degrees of InequalitySuzanne Mettler

“In a new book, entitled Degrees of Inequality: How the Politics of Higher Education Sabotaged the American Dream, Cornell University political scientist Suzanne Mettler argues that the demise of opportunity through higher education is, fundamentally, a political failure. Our landmark higher education policies have ceased to function effectively, and lawmakers — consumed by partisan polarization and plutocracy — have neglected to maintain and update them.” –The Century Foundation




It’s Not Like I’m PoorLaura Tach

“It’s Not Like I’m Poor details how everyday Americans have gotten by since welfare reform’s sweeping transformation in the 1990’s. Via the dramatic expansion of tax credits for low-income workers, the economic fortunes of one group of poor households, the working poor, have been bolstered as never before. ‘Hitting the lottery’ at tax time doesn’t erase the month-to-month challenges of making ends meet on meager wages; nonetheless, the new welfare system makes the dream of a middle-class life feel more tangible.” (See full description here)

(Written with Sarah Halpern-Meekin, Kathryn Edin, and Jennifer Sykes)



Insurgency TrapEli Friedman

During the first decade of the twenty-first century, worker resistance in China increased rapidly despite the fact that certain segments of the state began moving in a pro-labor direction. In explaining this, Eli Friedman argues that the Chinese state has become hemmed in by an “insurgency trap” of its own devising and is thus unable to tame expansive worker unrest. Labor conflict in the process of capitalist industrialization is certainly not unique to China and indeed has appeared in a wide array of countries around the world. What is distinct in China, however, is the combination of postsocialist politics with rapid capitalist development. (See full description here)




American InsecurityAdam Seth Levine

“Americans today face no shortage of threats to their financial well-being, such as job and retirement insecurity, health care costs, and spiraling college tuition. While one might expect that these concerns would motivate people to become more politically engaged on the issues, this often doesn’t happen, and the resulting inaction carries consequences for political debates and public policy. Moving beyond previously studied barriers to political organization, American Insecurity sheds light on the public’s inaction over economic insecurities by showing that the rhetoric surrounding these issues is actually self-undermining. By their nature, the very arguments intended to mobilize individuals—asking them to devote money or time to politics—remind citizens of their economic fears and personal constraints, leading to undermobilization and nonparticipation.” (Read full description here)


Cohabitation NationSharon Sassler

“Drawing on in-depth interviews, Sharon Sassler and Amanda Jayne Miller provide an inside view of how cohabiting relationships play out before and after couples move in together, using couples’ stories to explore the he said/she said of romantic dynamics. Delving into hot-button issues, such as housework, birth control, finances, and expectations for the future, Sassler and Miller deliver surprising insights about the impact of class and education on how relationships unfold. Showcasing the words, thoughts, and conflicts of the couples themselves, Cohabitation Nation offers a riveting and sometimes counterintuitive look at the way we live now.” (Read full description here)

(Written with Amanda Jayne Miller)


Precarious ClaimsShannon Gleeson

“Precarious Claims tells the human story behind the bureaucratic process of fighting for justice in the U.S. workplace. The global economy has fueled vast concentrations of wealth that have driven a demand for cheap and flexible labor. Workplace violations such as wage theft, unsafe work environments, and discrimination are widespread in low-wage industries such as retail, restaurants, hospitality, and domestic work, where jobs are often held by immigrants and other vulnerable workers. How and why do these workers, despite enormous barriers, come forward to seek justice, and what happens once they do? Based on extensive fieldwork in Northern California, Gleeson investigates the array of gatekeepers with whom workers must negotiate in the labor standards enforcement bureaucracy and, ultimately, the limited reach of formal legal protections. The author also tracks how workplace injustices—and the arduous process of contesting them—carry long-term effects on their everyday lives. Workers sometimes win, but their chances are precarious at best.” (Read full description here)


An Economist in Real WorldKaushik Basu

“In December 2009, the economist Kaushik Basu left the rarefied world of academic research for the nuts and bolts of policymaking. Appointed by the then Prime Minister of India, Manmohan Singh, to be chief economic adviser (CEA) to the Government of India, Basu—a theorist, with special interest in development economics, and a professor of economics at Cornell University—discovered the complexity of applying economic models to the real world. Effective policymaking, Basu learned, integrates technical knowledge with political awareness. In this book, Basu describes the art of economic policymaking, viewed through the lens of his two and a half years as CEA.” (Read full description here)



Cutting SchoolNoliwe Rooks

“Public schools are among America’s greatest achievements in modern history, yet from the earliest days of tax-supported education—today a sector with an estimated budget of over half a billion dollars—there have been intractable tensions tied to race and poverty. Now, in an era characterized by levels of school segregation the country has not seen since the mid-twentieth century, cultural critic and American studies professor Noliwe Rooks provides a trenchant analysis of our separate and unequal schools and argues that profiting from our nation’s failure to provide a high-quality education to all children has become a very big business.” (Read full description here)



ILR Review: A Special Issue on Inequality in the Workplace

CSI Faculty Affiliate, Pamela Tolbert, of the School of Industrial and Labor Relations, along with colleagues, has published A Special Issue on Inequality in the Workplace (2017, ILR Review). The issue is a collection of papers from a conference supported by CSI, focusing on what works and what does not with regard to ensuring equity, preventing legal claims of discrimination, and rectifying past and potential problems of bias in the workplace.






Who Gets Represented?

CSI Faculty Affiliate, Peter K. Enns, of the Department of Government, has published Who Gets Represented? (2011, Russell Sage Foundation). The book is a collection of papers from a mini-conference supported by CSI, focusing on the usual assumption that the preferences of any one group women, African Americans, or the middle class are incompatible with the preferences of other groups. Taking unequal representation as a given, the book analyzes differences across income, education, racial, and partisan groups and investigates whether and how differences in group opinion matter with regard to political representation. Buy your copy Here!



pid_8641Mobility and Inequality

With contributions from John Goldthorpe, James J. Heckman, Anthony B. Atkinson, Andrew Abbott, Robert D. Mare, and others, Mobility and Inequality presents conceptual and empirical analyses of social and economic mobility in industrialized societies, focusing in particular on models of change over time and the role that educational institutions play in constraining and enabling mobility opportunities. More than other compilations of mobility research that have published since the 1950s, Mobility and Inequality draws contributions from both sociology and economics and gives substantial explicit attention to the effects of inequality on mobility outcomes. This overarching theme is timely, given that labor market inequality in many industrialized societies has increased in the past thirty years.

Supplementary appendices: Epstein and Winship and Morgan and Kim

Go to Stanford University Press to order a copy, or visit the CSI library in 363 Uris Hall for a quick read.

41efFU8UBALPoverty and Inequality

With contributions from Amartya Sen, Martha C. Nussbaum, François Bourguignon, William J. Wilson, Douglas S. Massey, and Martha A. Fineman, Poverty and Inequality takes stock of current analytic understandings of poverty and inequality. Contemporary research on inequality has largely relied on conceptual advances several decades old, even though the basic structure of global inequality is changing in fundamental ways. The reliance on conventional poverty indices, rights-based approaches to poverty reduction, and traditional modeling of social mobility has left scholars and policymakers poorly equipped to address modern challenges.

Go to Stanford University Press to order a copy, or visit the CSI library in 363 Uris Hall for a quick read.


Blau.300_1The Declining Significance of Gender

From editors Francine Blau, Mary Brinton, and David Grusky, this book examines the economic, organizational, political, and cultural forces that have changed the status of women and men in the labor market. The contributors examine the economic assumption that discrimination in hiring is economically inefficient and will be weeded out eventually by market competition. They explore the effect that family-organizational policies have had in drawing women into the workplace and giving them even footing in the organizational hierarchy. Several chapters ask whether political interventions might reduce or increase gender inequality, and others discuss whether a social ethos favoring egalitarianism is working to overcome generations of discriminatory treatment against women.