To what extent does discrimination hinder (or boost) individuals’ opportunities in life? Which are the mechanisms through which discrimination may occur? These are some of the questions I grapple with in my work. More specifically, I am interested in discrimination along the lines of gender and social class, and in the mechanisms through which it occurs. I am currently conducting a meta-analysis of survey and fields experiments of gender discrimination on the labour market. In another project, I investigate a subtler type of discrimination--discrimination based on people's self-presentation on social networking websites (such as Twitter). To this end, I conducted a survey experiment in the United States and a field experiment in the United Kingdom.
Is obtaining a university degree "the great equalizer"? With the expansion of education, more individuals from different social backgrounds benefit from higher education, but this does not translate into equal opportunities in the labour market. In trying to understand how inequality is reproduced among university graduates, I investigate the potential channels through which intergenerational transmission of inequality occurs--why people of upper-class background continue to be upper class themselves. These channels include quality differences in higher education, elite higher education institutions, differences in the propensity to migrate for study and work, and employer’s discrimination based on social class.
Nowadays women outnumber men in higher education but they are still disadvantaged in the labour market. Which are the underlying causes of the gender gaps? Is the gender composition of fields of study relevant for individuals’ outcomes? Besides my interest in the gender inequalities on the labour market, I am also interested in the avenues and policy initiatives that motivate women to follow non-normative academic subjects and career paths.
The higher education system has expanded and diversified but fields of study and institutional prestige continue to matter for individuals’ employment opportunities. In my research I investigate why this is the case. To what extent are inequalities reproduced across different fields of study--STEM vs. non-STEM, nurturing vs. non-nurturing--and institutions (e.g. elite vs. non-elite institutions)? In answering these questions, I am interested in (i) the selection of individuals into various fields of study and institutions, (ii) their labour market outcomes after graduation, and (iii) the role of institutional settings.
Social Media Presence
Increasingly, individuals have an online presence on social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, which creates the possibility for employers to use social media as an additional source of information about potential candidates in the hiring process. Employers might not only evaluate but also discriminate applicants based on their online social media presence. In this direction, using experimental methods, I am interested to examine whether intangible characteristics such as social class, attractiveness and political attitudes - that are missing from resumes but could be inferred from individuals' online presence - influence employers' inferences and their hiring decisions.
Ultimately, most of my work is interested in understanding the causes of social inequalities. To this end, experiments are invaluable. In my work, I have been especially focused on applying field and survey experiments. For example, I used a field experiment to test employers’ discrimination in hiring, and a survey experiment to understand the mechanisms behind discrimination. I also used quasi-experimental designs such as propensity score matching to test the income returns of students from elite institutions.