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Abstracts from Volume 39, Number 2
(June, 2012)


 

PATTERNS AND PREDICTORS OF DEBT: A PANEL STUDY,
1985-2008
Richard K. Caputo

Relying on panel data from the National Longitudinal Survey of
Youth (NLSY79), this study finds that about half the study sample
(N = 5,304) never experienced annual debt between 1985 and
2008, that the vast majority of those who incurred annual debt
were short-term (1 year) or intermittent debtors (2-4 years), that
the proportion of the study sample in debt for the most part declined over time, but also that the level of debt increased. Multinomial regression results indicated that health status and level of changes in income are robust predictors of debt in general, that age and race/ethnicity are robust predictors of short-term and intermittent debt, that locus of control, family structure during adolescence, SES, work effort, and marital status are robust predictors of intermittent and chronic debt, and that self-esteem, gender, SES, and work effort are robust predictors of chronic debt. Findings challenge blanket contentions that a culture of debt characterizes individuals and families in the U.S and they present a more nuanced portrait of debtors than the stereotype as young and single.


SOCIAL CAPITAL, HUMAN CAPITAL, AND ECONOMIC WELL-BEING IN THE KNOWLEDGE ECONOMY: RESULTS FROM CANADA’S GENERAL SOCIAL SURVEY
Robert D. Weaver and Nazim Habibov

Beginning in the mid-1990s, the Canadian welfare state’s devolutionary transformation ushered in an era which potentially increased the importance of social capital and human capital as mechanisms for promoting socio-economic advancement. In this study, the authors analyze data from Canada’s General Social Survey to assess how social capital and human capital influence the reported incomes of the Canadian population. The primary findings were that both social and human capital influenced income and that human capital had a larger effect on economic mobility than did social capital. The implications the study’s findings have for policy and programmatic interventions within the 21st century knowledge-based economy are discussed, and future studies which can further understanding in the area of social and human capital are also proposed.


NEOLIBERALISM, PIVEN AND CLOWARD’S BARGAINING THEORY, AND WAGES IN THE UNITED STATES, 1965-2006
Thomas W. Volscho

The political economy of the United States during the last thirty
years has been described as neoliberal. Part of the neoliberal turn
involves reducing or eliminating income support programs such as
AFDC/TANF, waging war against organized labor, and increasingly
conservative (i.e., neoliberal) public policies. Following an analysis
by Lewis (2001) which showed that wages increased in response
to higher average monthly AFDC payments, I update and expand
this test of Piven and Cloward’s bargaining power theory of wages
by looking at other factors which may influence worker bargaining
power: unions, interest rates, policy liberalism, and economic
growth. I use time-series data on the U.S. covering 1965-2006 and
find that AFDC/TANF benefits have a short-term positive effect
on private-sector wages while declining union membership, punitive
interest rate shocks, and increasingly conservative public policies
have reduced the bargaining power of private-sector workers.


CHILD AND FAMILY TEAMS BUILDING SOCIAL CAPITAL FOR AT-RISK STUDENTS: A RESEARCH NOTE
Toby L. Parcel and Joan Pennell

We argue that sociologists interested in social capital theory and
social work scholars interested in child and family teams (CFTs)
can productively collaborate in studying at-risk youth. Social
capital theory suggests dimensions of CFTs that delineate both
family meeting intervention and implementation of the resulting
plan. These dimensions reflect both bonding and bridging
social capital that strengthen and widen supportive networks for
students and their families. We develop a model to apply to both
academic and social outcomes, specifically to student grades, students’ home environments, and overall family functioning. We
argue that our framework may be one of substantial generality,
and thus useful in studying multiple outcomes for at-risk youth.


PREDICTORS OF TIME VOLUNTEERING, RELIGIOUS GIVING, AND SECULAR GIVING: IMPLICATIONS FOR NONPROFIT ORGANIZATIONS
Namkee G. Choi and Diana M. DiNitto

Using data from the survey Midlife Development in the United
States, 2004–2006, the present study examined characteristics
associated with time volunteering, religious giving, and secular
giving. Multivariate analysis, guided by the theory of volunteering,
showed that education and income predicted time volunteering
and both religious and secular charitable giving. Generative
qualities (e.g., confidence in one’s skills, desire to assist others)
were significant predictors of time spent volunteering and secular
giving, while religious identification was the strongest predictor
of religious giving. Perceived social integration was a significant
predictor of time volunteering and religious giving. Implications
for nonprofit organizations that need to recruit more volunteers
and donors, especially during economic downturns, are discussed,
including personal invitations to volunteer based on knowledge of
an individual’s skills and talents, encouraging meeting attendance
and promoting social embeddedness, and secular organizations’
appeals to religious donors based on their religious motivations.


CLEAN NEEDLES AND BAD BLOOD: NEEDLE EXCHANGE AS MORALITY POLICY
Elizabeth A. Bowen

The morality policy framework is a lens for understanding the unique characteristics of policies that attempt to regulate personal morals and behaviors. Needle exchange, a controversial intervention for reducing the transmission of HIV in injection drug users, shares many of the hallmark characteristics of morality policies. Analyzing needle exchange from a morality policy perspective, focusing on the 21-year ban on federal funding for needle exchange, reveals how value-based arguments have been used in the needle exchange debate and explains why the issue is likely to remain controversial in the United States. This analysis adds to the understanding of moral and political aspects of U.S. HIV/AIDS prevention and care policies.


EXPLORING BARRIERS TO INCLUSION OF WIDOWED AND ABANDONED WOMEN THROUGH SELF-HELP MICROCREDIT GROUPS: THE CASE OF RURAL SOUTH INDIA
Margaret Lombe, Chrisann Newransky, Karen Kayser, and
Paul Mike Raj

Microcredit programs have been applauded as the magic bullet for
the poor, especially women with limited financial resources. Building
on previous research, this study examines effects of a microcredit
self-help group (SHG) program on perceptions of social exclusion
among widowed and abandoned women who participated in groups
established after the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami in Tamil Nadu,
India (N=109). Data were collected on key aspects of the program
such as loan amount and investment patterns, group experience,
demographics, and perceived barriers to inclusion. Results indicate
that investment patterns and group experience impacted the
women’s perception of barriers to social inclusion. In addition,
older or abandoned women were more likely to perceive barriers
to inclusion. Implications for designing and developing self-help
groups to empower women who are challenged by barriers to full
participation in activities that are key to functioning are discussed.


PUBLIC ATTITUDES AND GENDER POLICY REGIMES:
COHERENCE AND STABILITY IN HARD TIMES
Jing Guo and Neil Gilbert

Drawing upon data from the European Social Survey on public
attitudes and social welfare, this paper analyzes the extent to
which attitudes toward gender equality in work and family
life vary among 13 countries which represent different welfare
regimes. The analysis also examines how these attitudes
have changed with the onset of the economic recession in 2007.
The findings suggest that public attitudes toward gender issues
are largely consistent with welfare regimes, and most notably,
reveal a clear direction of moving away from traditional
views of gender, family and work issues in economic hard times.


BOOK REVIEWS


Good Jobs America: Making Work Better for Everyone.
Paul Osterman and Beth Shulman.
Reviewed by Mary Huff Stevenson.

American Dreamers: How the Left Changed a Nation.
Michael Kazin.
Reviewed by Kim Phillips-Fein.

Patterns of Protest: Trajectories of Participation in Social
Movements.
Catherine Corrigall-Brown.
Written Out of History: Memoirs of Ordinary Activists.
Bette Steinmuller, Nancy Teel, Beatrice Nava, Linda Stern,
Steven Norris, and Kendall Hale.
Reviewed by Marguerite G. Rosenthal.

Banished: The New Social Control in Urban America.
Katherine Beckett and Steve Herbert.
Reviewed by Lucia Trimbur.

Rights Gone Wrong: How Law Corrupts the Struggle for
Equality.
Richard Thompson Ford.
Reviewed by Robert Costello.

Guest Workers and Resistance to U.S. Corporate Despotism.
Immanuel Ness.
Reviewed by Barbara Franz.

Aging Our Way: Lessons Learned for Living from 85 and
Beyond.
Meika Loe.
Reviewed by Donna Wang.

The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined.
Steven Pinker.
Reviewed by Edward U. Murphy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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