Virtual Inequality Discussion Group - Barum Park

Picture of Speaker: Barum Park

Event Date

09/23/2020 - 11:30

Barum Park (Assistant Professor, Sociology)

Title: Flows and Boundaries: A Network Approach to Studying Occupational Mobility in the Labor Market (co-authored with Siwei Cheng)

Abstract: Although stratification research has long recognized the importance of mapping out the underlying boundaries that govern the flow of workers in the labor market, the current literature faces two major challenges: (1) the determination of mobility boundaries and (2) the incorporation of changes in mobility boundaries. The authors propose a network framework that helps address these challenges. The framework conceptualizes the occupational system as a network, in which the nodes are occupations and the edges are defined by the volume and direction of workers who move between the nodes. A flow-based community detection algorithm is introduced to uncover the mobility boundaries based on the observed mobility network. Applying this approach to analyze trends in intragenerational occupational mobility in the United States from 1989 to 2015, the authors find that the boundaries that constrain mobility opportunities have become increasingly rigid over time, while, at the same time, decoupled from the boundaries of big-classes and microclasses. Moreover, these boundaries are increasingly sorting workers into clusters of occupations with similar skill requirements.

Bio: Barum Park received his Ph.D. from New York University in 2020 and holds a B.A. in German literature and sociology from Sungkyunkwan University, South Korea. His research interests lie in political sociology, social networks, and social mobility. In most of his work, he focuses on how several social dimensions intersect to create social structures we care about. In his research on political polarization, he shows how cross-cutting lines of ideological conflict prevent belief systems to bifurcate into clear-cut liberal and conservative positions. Further, his work documents that such a cross-cutting structure emerged due to the dealignment of moral issues from traditional ideological cleavages in the US over the last decade. In his research on social mobility, Barum uses network approaches to identify boundaries to worker flows and examine the pattern through which these boundaries cross-cut the boundaries of occupational classes. His current projects explore the dynamics of political polarization over the 2016 presidential campaign in the US using data on online forums. Barum is currently expanding his research on worker flows and mobility boundaries using data on workers' resumes.