Professor Pedulla’s research addresses theoretical and empirical issues at the intersection of economic and organizational sociology and research on race and gender stratification. His completed and ongoing research – drawing on original field and survey experiments as well as in-depth interviews and observational survey data – focuses on three overarching areas of inquiry. Key themes from each of these lines of scholarship are discussed below:
1. Employment Relationships and Labor Market Inequality
The economy in the United States has changed in many ways in recent decades, raising a new set of questions about the unequal distribution of opportunity for workers. In the contemporary economic landscape, millions of workers labor in part-time positions, through temporary help agencies, and at jobs below their skill level. Yet, limited prior research explores the direct effect of these types of employment experiences on workers’ future labor market opportunities. Building on and advancing theoretical insights from sociological scholarship on gendered “ideal worker” norms, bias and discrimination, and evaluative processes, Pedulla’s research uses experimental and qualitative methods to investigate how histories of nonstandard, mismatched, and precarious employment influence how workers are evaluated and treated during the hiring process.
2. Institutional and Organizational Arrangements and Social Inequality
The Organizational Context of Hiring Discrimination
A key component of Pedulla’s on-going research agenda is to theoretically develop and empirically test how organizational policies and practices as well as extra-organizational forces shape discrimination during the hiring process. One central aspect of this line of research is a collaborative, multi-year project collecting and analyzing original data from a large-scale field-experimental study of hiring discrimination by race, gender, and parental status at companies across 20 U.S. labor markets. The project is then matching the field-experimental data with detailed surveys that capture the policies and practices at those same companies. The data for this project will address pressing sociological questions such as: Do companies with highly formalized and standardized hiring practices discriminate less against African American applicants?
Work-Family Policies and Gender Inequality
Under this umbrella of research, Professor Pedulla also investigates how organizational policies and practices influence gender inequality at work and at home. One collaborative line of inquiry in this broader research area examines how access to work-family policies affects the relationship preferences of young, unmarried, childless men and women. Other co-authored scholarship investigates how non-work networks intersect with organizational work-family policies to shape the labor force attachment of working mothers.
3. The Supply-Side Dynamics of Inequality in the Labor Market
A third component of Professor Pedulla’s research agenda focuses on the ways that supply-side dynamics are implicated in the perpetuation of labor market inequality. Published, collaborative work in this area explores the consequences of racial disadvantage in the U.S. labor market for the job search behavior of African American workers as well as the pathways and mechanisms through which social networks are implicated in perpetuating racial disparities in employment outcomes. On-going work in this area examines the complex and gendered processes by which workers sort into higher- and lower-compensating firms. This component of his research agenda sheds new light on the supply-side mechanisms driving race and gender labor market stratification by emphasizing the social and structural constraints that influence individuals’ job search behavior.