My research lies at the intersection of organizations, work, policy, and social inequality and can be divided into two streams of scholarship. The first stream examines how labor market shifts and organizational practices affect employment outcomes such as pay and career formation, focusing on race, class, and gender disparities. Research in this stream addresses three major questions: 1) How do organizations affect people's job mobility? 2) How does work on digital platforms differ from traditional workplaces? 3) How do organizations and historical shifts in labor markets affect employee pay?
My second stream of research examines the connection between public policy and race-based disparities in various spheres of life, including work, education, and immigration. Below, I describe each stream in more detail.
- Kronberg,A. and A. Gerlach (2023) Off to a slow start: which workplace policies can limit gender pay gaps across firm tenure? Socio-Economic Review
- Browne, I., Kronberg, A., and J. McDonnell (2022) Spillover Effects of Restrictive Immigration Policy on Latinx Citizens: Raising or Lowering Earnings? Sociological Perspectives
- Kronberg, A. (2020) Workplace gender pay gaps: Does gender matter less the longer employees stay? Work and Occupations, 47(1): 3-43
- Renzulli, L., Werum, R., and A. Kronberg (2020) The Rise of Homeschooling Regulation in the Era of School Choice: Legislative and Judicial Trends, 1972-2009 Sociological Forum, 35(2): 297-322
- Browne, I., Reingold, B., and A. Kronberg (2018) Race Relations, Black Elites and Immigration Politics: Conflict, Commonalities and Context Social Forces 94(4), 1691-1720
- Boutcher, S., Kronberg, A., and R. Werum (2018) Getting on the "Radar Screen": Homeschooling Litigation As Agenda-Setting, 1972-2007 Mobilization , 28(2): 159-180
- Kronberg, A. (2014). Stay or Leave? Race, Education and Changing Returns to the External Labor Market Strategy, 1976-2009 Work and Occupations, 41(3): 305-349
- Kronberg, A.(2013). Stay or Leave? Externalization of Job Mobility and the Effects on the U.S. Gender Earnings Gap, 1979-2009 Social Forces, 91(4): 1117-1146.
- Awarded with the Odum Outstanding Student Paper Award 2013, Southern Sociological Society
Research on Organizations, Work, and Social Inequality
How do organizations affect people's job mobility?
A DFG-funded, project with Dr. Markus Gangl and Anna Gerlach addresses how the formalization of employment practices and establishment composition affect pay and firm-internal opportunities. Overall, the project sheds light on how organizational policies and characteristics shape men's and women's careers within firms. For that purpose, we use German linked-employer-employee data (LIAB), which links a longitudinal panel of 15,0000 German establishments with employees' administrative data in these establishments between 2004 and 2019. A paper comparing the effect of formalization, women-focused career policies, and childcare assistance on gender wage gaps appeared in the Socio-Economic Review.
How does work on digital platforms differ from traditional workplaces?
The world of work is changing quickly, and the platform economy, i.e., work that takes place on digital platforms, has grown dramatically. Platform workers are betwixt and between traditional wage- and self-employment because platform workers lack the security of regular employment, but platforms still direct pay and work. Additionally, as freelancers, platform workers are immediately affected by demand fluctuations for their services, particularly consignment-type platforms such as YouTube or Instagram.
To understand the experiences of platform workers - particularly on consignment-type content platforms - I have conducted 37 qualitative interviews with current and former part-time content creators on the Amazon-owned platform Twitch.tv. Building on the qualitative project, a current project funded by the Russell Sage Foundation builds a longitudinal panel of 4200 randomly sampled creators to understand how platform features shape disparities among creators.
How do organizations and historical shifts in labor markets affect employee pay?
Since the 1970s, employees (have to) change their employer more frequently throughout their career. Using growth curve models to analyze data from the Panel Study of Income Dynamics (1976-2009), this project examined whether increasing inter-organizational mobility contributed to the stalling closure of race and gender pay disparities in the U.S. Results demonstrate that changing career patterns have had a complex effect on race and gender disparities due to an intersection between race, class, and gender. The first paper, published in Social Forces demonstrated that mobility between employers narrowed the gender pay gap among employees who changed voluntarily between good jobs, i.e., jobs that provide employer-sponsored health and pension insurance, as well as above-poverty pay. In contrast, gender differences widened among employees who left their previous employer involuntarily or worked bad jobs.
Gender affected mobility outcomes very differently than race. Hence a second paper, published in Work and Occupations examined the effect of mobility on Black-White pay differences. Earnings disparities among leavers increased among male college graduates since the 1970s, whereas race differences decreased among male high school graduates. Mobility did not affect race differences among women.
While income tends to change dramatically when switching employers, pay does not remain stagnant once employees are hired. Some evidence already suggests that men receive greater annual merit increases for the same performance than women. However, we don't really know if this primarily affects new employees or whether this is an ongoing problem. To address this question, I use longitudinal personnel records of a large US employer and trace employees' pay growth for up to 9 years after they were hired. Unlike most firms, B2G successfully regulates pay at hire, meaning that equally qualified men and women in the same job start at pay equity. I examine how gender pay differences develop post-hire in such an environment and find that gender gaps grow gradually after hire. In support of Status Characteristics Theory, the effect of gender does not lessen with increasing tenure. Moreover, gender differences only emerge in subunits where supervisors have discretion over merit increases, whereas units wit h low supervisory discretion are characterized by sustained equity. This research was published in Work and Occupations.
Race and Public Policy
Complementing with my focus on social inequality, three collaborative projects examine how race relations shape public policy. My paper with Irene Browne and Beth Reingold investigates how Black and White state legislators vote on restrictive immigration laws. Consistent with theories of symbolic politics, Black legislators vote restrictively on bills where Black and Latino interests compete (e.g., access to jobs) and vote less restrictively when both groups would suffer (e.g., civil rights issues). We published this paper in Social Forces.
Irene Browne and I are collaborating further to examine how restrictive immigration laws affect pay inequality of U.S. citizens who are not targets of these policies. Using the National Longitudinal Study of Youth (NLSY), we find that restrictive immigration policies have no effect on wage-employed citizens, contrary to the often-cited notion that undocumented immigrants are "stealing jobs." Instead, laws only affect the self-employed, but in ways that encourage racial segregation of business owners into ethnic neighborhoods. A co-authored paper with Jenny McDonnell was published in Sociological Perspectives. A second paper co-authored with Daniel Auguste is currently under review.
My project with Regina Werum, Linda Renzulli, and Steven Boutcher examines how social movements shaped the regulation of homeschooling since the 1970s. Specifically, how, and when movements used courts vs. legislative lobbying to shape public policy. I was central to constructing and analyzing a longitudinal, state-level dataset that combined precedent-setting homeschooling court cases with state-level political, economic, demographic, and educational indicators between 1972 and 2007. We find that social movements and race- and class-based competition contributed to changing homeschooling laws. We published papers in Mobilization and Sociological Forum.