ASR June 2010


Volume 75, Number 3 * June 2010

For copies of the articles listed below, please visit the ASR page at Sage Journals Online.

ARTICLES The Effects of Organizational and Political Embeddedness on Financial Malfeasance in the Largest U.S. Corporations: Dependence, Incentives, and Opportunities
Harland Prechel and Theresa Morris
Abstract: This article examines the causes of financial malfeasance in the largest U.S. corporations between 1995 and 2004. The findings support organizational-political embeddedness theory, which suggests that differential social structures create dependencies, incentives, and opportunities to engage in financial malfeasance. The historical analysis shows that neoliberal policies enacted between 1986 and 2000 resulted in organizational and political structures that permitted managers to engage in financial malfeasance. Our quantitative analysis provides three main findings. First, capital dependence on investors creates incentives to engage in financial malfeasance. Second, managerial strategies to increase shareholder value create incentives to engage in financial malfeasance. Third, the multilayer-subsidiary form and the political structure permitting corporate PAC contributions create opportunities to engage in financial malfeasance. These findings have important implications for public policy; the corporate and state structures enacted in the late-twentieth century were the outcome of a long-term, well-financed, and systematic political strategy that provided managers with unprecedented power, autonomy, and opportunity to engage in financial malfeasance.

The Global Rise of Democracy: A Network Account
Magnus Thor Torfason and Paul Ingram
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Abstract: We examine the influence of an interstate network created by intergovernmental organizations (IGOs) on the global diffusion of democracy. We propose that IGOs facilitate democracy’s diffusion by transmitting information between member states and by interpreting that information according to prevailing norms in the world society, where democracy is viewed as the legitimate form of government. We employ a network autocorrelation model to track changes in democracy among all of the world’s countries from 1815 to 2000. We find that democracy does diffuse through the IGO network and that the influence of democratic countries is stronger than that of undemocratic countries. Evidence indicates that the IGO network serves as a basis for normative diffusion. This is an important contribution to sociological accounts of globalization, which tend to emphasize diffusion divorced from network structure or diffusion dependent on the coercive influence of a small set of international organizations.

Latino Immigrants and the U.S. Racial Order: How and Where Do They Fit In?
Reanne Frank, Ilana Redstone Akresh, and Bo Lu
Abstract: How do Latino immigrants in the United States understand existing racial categories? And how does the existing U.S. racial order influence this understanding? Using data from the New Immigrant Survey (NIS), our analysis points to changes in how the U.S. racial order might operate in the future. We find that most Latino immigrants recognize the advantages of a White racial designation when asked to self-identify, but wider society is not often accepting of this White expansion. Our findings suggest that relatively darker-skinned Latino immigrants experience skin-color-based discrimination in the realm of annual income. Furthermore, Latinos who are most integrated into the United States are the most likely to opt out of the existing U.S. racial categorization scheme. We predict that a racial boundary is forming around some Latino immigrants: those with darker skin and those who have more experience in the U.S. racial stratification system.

Occupations and the Structure of Wage Inequality in the United States, 1980s to 2000s
Ted Mouw and Arne L. Kalleberg
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Abstract: Occupations are central to the stratification systems of industrial countries, but they have played little role in empirical attempts to explain the well-documented increase in wage inequality that occurred in the United States in the 1980s and 1990s.Weaddress this deficiency by assessing occupation-level effects on wage inequality using data from the Current Population Survey for 1983 through 2008. We model the mean and variance of wages for each occupation, controlling for education and demographic factors at the individual level to test three competing explanations for the increase in wage inequality: (1) the growth of between-occupation polarization, (2) changes in education and labor force composition, and (3) residual inequality unaccounted forbyoccupations anddemographic characteristics. After correcting for a problem with imputed data that biased Kim and Sakamoto’s (2008) results, we find that betweenoccupation changes explain 66 percent of the increase in wage inequality from 1992 to 2008, although 23 percent of this is due to the switch to the 2000 occupation codes in 2003. Sensitivity analysis reveals that 18 percent of the increase in inequality from 1983 to 2002 is due to changes in just three occupations: managers ‘‘not elsewhere classified,’’ secretaries, and computer systems analysts.

Gastronationalism: Food Traditions and Authenticity Politics in the European Union
Michaela DeSoucey
Abstract: By developing the concept of ‘‘gastronationalism,’’ this article challenges conceptions of the homogenizing forces of globalism. I analyze (1) the ways in which food production, distribution, and consumption can demarcate and sustain the emotive power of national attachment and (2) how nationalist sentiments, in turn, can shape the production and marketing of food. The multi-methodological analyses reveal how the construct of gastronationalism can help us better understand pan-national tensions in symbolic boundary politics—politics that protect certain foods and industries as representative of national cultural traditions. I first analyze the macro-level dimensions of market protections by examining the European Union’s program for origin-designation labels that delineates particular foods as nationally owned. The micro-level, empirical case—the politics surrounding foie gras in France—demonstrates how gastronationalism functions as a protectionist mechanism within lived experience. Foie gras is an especially relevant case because other parties within the pan-national system consider it morally objectionable. Contemporary food politics, beyond the insights it affords into symbolic boundary politics, speaks to several arenas of sociological interest, including markets, identity politics, authenticity and culture, and the complexities of globalization.

Stained Red: A Study of Stigma by Association to Blacklisted Artists during the “Red Scare” in Hollywood, 1945 to 1960
Elizabeth Pontikes, Giacomo Negro, and Hayagreeva Rao
Abstract: We suggest that moral panics exert spillover effects through stigma by mere association. Individuals are harmed even if their ties to stigmatized affiliates are heterophilous, and high-status individuals can also suffer. This creates a broadcast effect that increases the scale of the moral panic. Analyzing the U.S. film industry from 1945 to 1960, we examine how artists’ employment in feature films was influenced by their associations with co-workers who were blacklisted as communists after working with the focal artist. Mere association reduces an artist’s chances of working again, and one exposure is enough to impair work prospects. Furthermore, actors’ careers are impaired when writers with whom they worked are blacklisted. Moreover, the negative effects of stigma by mere association hold even when the focal artist has received public acclaim. These findings have broad implications. When a few individuals or organizations are engaged in wrongdoing and publicly targeted, stigma by association can lead to false positives and harm many innocents.