Inequality Discussion Group - Radu Pârvulescu & Emily Sandusky

Event Date

03/15/2021 - 11:30

Radu Pârvulescu (Ph.D. Candidate, Sociology)
De-bureaucratisation, Feminisation, and Professional Inheritance

Emily Sandusky (Ph.D. Candidate, Sociology)
Do Voters Respond to Local Income Inequality? Examining Support for Raising the State Minimum Wage

 

De-bureaucratisation, Feminisation, and Professional Inheritance

Abstract: Modern bureaucracies are often feminised, and indeed bureaucratisation in the 20th and 21st centuries has typically entailed workforce feminisation. But is the opposite also true? Does de-bureaucratisation lead to masculinisation of the workforce? In Romania, a major wave of de-bureaucratisation occurred during the transition from state-socialism to liberal capitalism, with large swathes of activity passing from state organisations to small-time offices. This study uses the natural experiment of the transition to assess changes in the gender distribution of two legal professions, notaries public and bailiffs, both of which went from being employees of local courts to operating in small private practices. Using two decades of administrative data I show that (1) de-bureaucratisation did not cause masculinisation, but either aggressive feminisation or a maintenance of female professional dominance; (2) professional inheritance, i.e. passing on the private office to kin, can be a force for gender equality; and (3) neither the growth of the profession nor the feminisation of its labour pool (law school graduates) is related to feminisation in a straightforward manner. I conclude by arguing that in the Romanian case the de-bureaucratisation occasioned by privatisatisation served as an enabler for prior mechanisms of feminisation: de-bureaucratisation encouraged trends that were already there but did not contribute its own causal force. 

Bio: Radu Parvulescu is a PhD candidate studying legal professions and societal shocks such as revolutions. What happens to the people who administer law when the laws radically change? How do different forms of legal organisation, such as bureaucracy or private office, affect occupational mobility and inequality? His research is distinctive for bringing social simulation to bear on the study of professional mobility in order to capture the emergent dynamics of organisational inequality. He uses a variety of quantitative methods, such as agent-based models, social sequence analysis, and event-history models. Radu approaches social mobility as a jumble of causal forces that are only rarely visible to the naked eye, showing how different factors suppress, enable, and condition the occupational humdrum of promotion, relocation, retirement, and the occasional political purge. 

Do Voters Respond to Local Income Inequality? Examining Support for Raising the State Minimum Wage

Abstract: Between 2002 and 2020 voters in 16 states approved ballot measures to raise the state minimum wage. I examine the results of these ballot initiatives in order to determine whether there is greater aggregate support for policies that narrow the income gap among residents of counties with high levels of economic disparity. This research into the correlates of direct democratic responses to inequality can help us better understand why the income gap persists in the United States. While preliminary results reveal a positive association between income inequality and "yes" votes for increasing the minimum wage, there is strong evidence  that local political climate plays a role in the economic context-policy preference dynamic. 

Bio: Emily Sandusky is a PhD candidate studying popular ideas about economic inequality in the U.S. Using an approach informed by scholarship on both contextual effects and public opinion, she treats quotidian observations and interactions in neighborhoods, school districts, counties, and other spatial contexts as economic and political information. Emily investigates the ways in which information coded in local conditions shapes beliefs and opinions about socioeconomic inequality and support for potentially corrective policies.