My research lies at the intersection of organizations, work, labor markets, and social inequality. I examine how labor market shifts and organizational practices affect employment outcomes such as pay and career formation, with particularly focus on race, class, and gender disparities. I address these mechanisms in several projects using quantitative and mixed-methods designs. These include the quantitative analyses of large household panel data, longitudinal personnel data from a large U.S. employer, and qualitative analyses of semi-structured interviews with supervisors and employees.
Current Research: The effect of organizations on careers
At Goethe University, I planned and secured funding for two new collaborative projects. A first project, titled "ScienceBurn" with Dr. Heather Hofmeister and Dr. Matthias Revers, focuses on the leaky "pipeline" among life scientists, particularly the transition from post-doc status to faculty (or non-academia). Of special interest is how institutional processes (i.e. science as occupation), employer practices, and life course factors interact with one another to shape career pathways. With the support of a competitive Goethe University Grant, we gained access to a prestigious life science institute in Western Europe and completed semi-structured interviews with 22 current post-docs, 6 group leaders, and 8 former post-docs.
A second, DFG-funded, project with Dr. Markus Gangl moves from an in-depth study of a single organization to a quantitative comparison between many organizations. Among others, the project addresses how the formalization of employment practices affects pay and firm-internal opportunities. Likewise, we will examine how broader organizational context such as declining occupational mix and preexisting pay disparities affect job opportunities and turnover behavior among men and women. Overall, the project sheds light on how organizational policies and organizational characteristics shape men and women's careers within and between firms. For that purpose, we use the 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 2012.
Previous Research: The effect of addressing pay gaps at hire
A previous project focused on what happens after individuals switch employers and how mobility outcomes depend on specific pay-setting practices. For this purpose, I use longitudinal personnel records of a large US employer ("B2G"). 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 re-emerge post-entry as women receive smaller merit increases than equally performing men in the same position. Counter to economic theories of employer learning and 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 with low supervisory discretion are characterized by sustained equity.
Previous Research: The effect of labor market shifts on mobility outcomes
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. Speaking to intersectionality theory, 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 inter-organizational mobility 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 who worked in bad jobs.
Moreover, Black-White pay differences were moderated by different factors than gender disparities were. Hence a second paper, published in Work and Occupations, examined the effect of mobility on Black-White differences. Earnings disparities among leavers increased among male college-graduates, whereas race differences decreased among male high school graduates, and race differences were unaffected among women.
- Boutcher, S., Kronberg, A. and R. Werum (forthcoming) "Getting on the "Radar Screen": Homeschooling Litigation As Agenda-Setting, 1972-2007 Mobilization
- 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
- Reviewed in the Academy of Management Perspectives Research Briefs
Work Under Review
- Browne, I., Reingold, B., and A. Kronberg "Race Relations, Black Elites and Immigration Politics: Conflict, Commonalities and Context" [Conditional Accept at Social Forces]
- Renzulli, L., Werum, R. and A. Kronberg. "Contested Terrain? Homeschooling Laws and Court Cases in the Era of School Choice, 1972-2009" [R&R at American Journal of Education]
Work in Progress
- Kronberg, A. "Sustainable Equality? Men and Women's Post-hire Pay Growth in Organizations with Gender Pay Equality at Hire."
- Kronberg, A, Rider, C. and A. Swaminathan. "Economic cycles and job precariousness: Which employees are more vulnerable?" [in preparation for Organization Science]
- Kronberg, A., Hofmeister, H., and M. Revers "'Failed scientists' and 'lion pills': The effect of organizational narratives of success and career plans among life science post-docs."