The Role of School District Boundary Lines in Perpetuating School Segregation

Much of the current American educational policy focuses on individual-level reforms that are intended to encourage teachers to work harder so that students will learn more and achieve higher levels on standardized tests. However, this approach fails to recognize the importance of structural features in supporting or limiting students’ academic success. The organization of school districts and the extent to which they segregate students has major implications for the educational opportunities of students and their corresponding outcomes.

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The Role of Inheritance and Labor Income in Marital Choices

From Honoré de Balzac to Jane Austen, many nineteenth century novels give examples of marriage of convenience in which the spousal wealth is determinant. Today, people probably marry more frequently for love, and family has less power than during the nineteenth century. But has the importance of inheritance in marital choices disappeared? This research is grounded upon recent findings on long-term trends in inheritance and wealth. Whether this situation is important for the dynamics of inequality over time depends, among other things, on marital decisions – do heirs marry heiresses? – as family plays a decisive role in the transmission of capital, be it human, social or material.

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Prison Suicide in France: What Makes Inmates Vulnerable?

Nearly one in two deaths in French prisons is a suicide. Between 2005 and 2010, the annual rate averaged 18.5 suicides per 10,000 prisoners. This is seven times higher than the suicide rate among men aged 15-59, the group most similar to the French prison population in terms of sex and age characteristics.

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Is Divorce Beneficial to the Environment?

An earlier research article, which received extensive media coverage, argued that divorce leads to a higher use of resources such as domestic energy and water (Yu and Liu 2007). Considering 12 countries around the world they found that divorce leads to an increase in the number of small, less energy efficient households. Those who live alone usually live in housing with more square feet per person than those who live as a couple. This means that two people living alone require more heating than a couple living together. In addition, some consumer durables that require electricity are consumed at the household level, such as refrigerators, freezers, TVs etc. This leads Yu and Liu to conclude that high divorce rates will entail high levels of energy consumption.

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Does Climbing the ‘Social Ladder’ Increase Life Satisfaction? A Comparison of the UK and Switzerland

It is a widely held belief that status and wealth affect subjective well-being (SWB). This is reflected in the efforts of many people to climb up the ‘social ladder’ and to transcend their social background. By being upwardly mobile, they hope to benefit from various rewards they believe to be associated with desirable societal positions. However, findings from a range of disciplines provide evidence that these benefits are not to be taken for granted. Thus, we decided investigate the question of how upward social mobility impacts life satisfaction, the cognitive component of SWB.

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Perceptions of Inequality and Protest

In a recent post, Noah Carl described inequality “as one of the central political issues of our time” pointing to the growing number of cross-national protests mobilized around economic inequality. This mobilization has no doubt helped increase salience around the issue of inequality and while it may not have necessarily led to any specific policies designed to address inequality, it surely got the issue onto the policy agenda. But what might explain why individuals participate in these forms of political and collective action? Carl alludes to a possible factor when he points to his preliminary evidence “that citizens’ concern about inequality is correlated with the belief that individual effort determines income.”

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Sustainable Development in Developing Countries: Ramifications of Urbanisation and Poverty

Globally, sustainable development is recognised as a potential pathway for building resilient cities, reducing poverty and safeguarding the natural environment. With its aim to achieve a symbiotic relationship between the economy, society and the environment, the concept of sustainable development has increasingly focused on fostering adaptive capabilities and creating opportunities to maintain or achieve desirable social, economic and ecological systems for both present and future generations (Cobbinah et al., 2011; Folke et al., 2002; WCED, 1987). As a result, international policies, programmes and institutions over the past three decades have been considerably shaped by the idea of sustainable development. Continue reading

Sibling Similarity in Family Formation

Sibling data have been widely used to analyze the impact of family background on status attainment. To a lesser extent, they have been utilized for examining family-of-origin effects on demographic outcomes, such as leaving the parental home, union formation, and fertility. This research gap is surprising in view of the increased interest in the interdependencies between demographic processes among family members and their role in the (re‑)production of social inequality across generations. We address this issue in our recently published paper on sibling similarities in family formation.

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Why Sanctions are Ineffective: The Case of Undocumented Migrants and Their Employers

Over the last decade while we have both been conducting research into undocumented migration the sanctions regime has grown, extending further into civil society. Employers, landlords, banks and other agencies now all are charged with a legal obligation to police immigration. The law says that they may not offer employment, accommodation or other services to those who are undocumented and a failure to do so poses risks in terms of serious penalties, such as fines and even imprisonment. We have become increasingly concerned about the consequences of this regime, where the focus is on punishment, on naming and shaming and on public demonstrations of state punitive action, particularly in the form of raids on workplaces and on private homes. Continue reading