Category: Recent Publications

Recent publications by faculty, students, and alumni.

Dirk Witteveen – Encouraged or Discouraged? The Effect of Adverse Macroeconomic Conditions on School Leaving and Reentry

Dirk Witteveen (alum) published an article in Sociology of Education (September 24, 2020) 

Encouraged or Discouraged? The Effect of Adverse Macroeconomic Conditions on School Leaving and Reentry” 


Existing research generally confirms a countercyclical education enrollment, whereby youths seek shelter in the educational system to avoid hardships in the labor market: the “discouraged worker” thesis. Alternatively, the “encouraged worker” thesis predicts that economic downturns steer individuals away from education because of higher opportunity costs. This study provides a formal test of these opposing theories using data from the United States compared with similar sources from the United Kingdom, Germany, and Sweden. I investigate whether macroeconomic stimuli—including recessions and youth unemployment fluctuations—matter for enrollment decisions. Analyses rely on 10 years of detailed individual-level panel data, consisting of birth cohorts across several decades. Across data sources, results show enrollment persistence in secondary education is stronger in response to economic downturns. These patterns differ sharply for tertiary-enrolled students and those who recently left higher education. Surprisingly, U.S. youths display an increased hazard of school leaving and a decreased hazard of educational reenrollment in response to adverse conditions. In contrast, European youths tend to make enrollment decisions supportive of discouraged-worker mechanisms or insensitivity to adverse conditions. The U.S.-specific encouraged-worker mechanism might be explained by the relative importance of market forces in one’s early career and the high costs of university attendance, which induces risk aversion with regard to educational investment. The discussion addresses the consequences for educational inequality.

Recent pieces by Richard Alba, Andréa Becker, Samuel Farber, Isaac Jabola-Carolus, Ruth Milkman, Kristi Riley, Julie C. Suk, Nga Than, and John Torpey

Richard Alba (Faculty)

Wrote a piece in The Sun 

“Who is left out of the new American mainstream?”


Andréa Becker

Wrote pieces in Teen Vogue “Who Decides Who Gets a Hysterectomy?” and in Ms. Magazine “It Was Never About Saving Babies. It Was Always About Motherhood”


Samuel Farber (Emeritus)
Wrote a piece in Jacobin Magazine

The Berkeley Free Speech Movement, 56 Years Later  and The Many Explosions of Los Angeles in the 1960s 


Isaac Jabola-Carolus

Wrote a report on California domestic workers “Unprotected on the Job: How Exclusion from Safety and Health Laws Harms California Domestic Workers.” The report provides the most recent data on safety/health hazards faced by CA domestic workers, who are still excluded from workplace safety laws after 50 years.  


Ruth Milkman (Faculty)

Wrote a piece in Gotham Gazette New Reason Not to Fall for Trump’s Immigrant Labor Threat Narrative


Kristi Riley 

Wrote a book review of Hans Toch’s Organizational change through individual empowerment: Applying social psychology in prisons and policing in Criminal Justice and Behavior

Julie C. Suk

Wrote a piece in the Boston Review Save the Equal Rights Amendment


Nga Than

Wrote a piece in the Center for the Humanities website – Communities and Emotions in the Digital Classroom” 


John Torpey (Faculty) wrote pieces in Forbes 

“Universal Baby Income?” 

What Is The True Death Toll Of Covid?

Comparing Pandemics