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Seminar Series

Seminar Series

Seminar: How do Mafias organize?

Violence and murders in three Italian Mafia organizations. Presenter: Maurizio Catino & Discussant: Daniel DellaPosta

Join CSES in an exciting discussion on the way Mafias organize. Professor Maurizio Catino of the University of Mila, Bicocca will present on the violence and murders in three Italian Mafia organizations. Joining the discussion will be Danile DellaPosta, PhD candidate of Sociology at Cornell University. Do not miss this event on Tuesday, November 22, 4:30PM-6:00PM at Uris Hall Room 302.

Seminar Series

The Political Economy of Nutrition

Nutrition Suffers an Identity Crisis

Nutrition, among professionals, suffers an identity crisis. Within the Academy, its professional reputation ranks very low and in the medical practitioner community, nutrition education is almost non-existent. The public, with an intense in nutrition, therefore is faced with massive confusion surrounding this topic. (Defined, nutrition is the biological expression of food upon consumption, digestion and absorption.)

In spite of this confusion, we now have compelling scientific evidence that properly understanding and applying nutrition can both prevent and treat (i.e., cure) many serious diseases and ailments. Heart disease, even when advanced, can be cured by food alone. The same nutrition strategy—a whole food, plant-based (WPB) diet, practiced as a lifestyle—avoids or treats many diseases and ailments and does so remarkably quickly. A composite of the most efficacious pills and procedures of contemporary medicine cannot compete with the right kind of food as a means of restoring health.This impressive evidence on nutrition, long suppressed by various cultural, economic and political forces, would greatly benefit from a healthy dose of scholarly discussion within the community of socio-political economists. Were this information made available to and properly used by the public, a case can easily be made that at least two-thirds of health care costs could be spared, environmental catastrophes could be substantially averted, and violence to humans and other sentient beings would be greatly reduced.

Speaker Bio

T. Colin Campbell was trained at Cornell (M.S., Ph.D.) and MIT (Research Associate) in nutrition, biochemistry and toxicology, then spent 10 years on the faculty of Virginia Tech’s Department of Biochemistry and Nutrition before being recruited at age 40 to the Division of Nutritional Sciences at Cornell in 1975 where he presently holds his Endowed Chair (now Emeritus). His principal scientific interests, begun in the late 1950′s, has been on the effects of nutritional status on long term health, particularly on the causation of cancer. His relatively large research program included both laboratory experimentation and nationwide human studies (China, Philippines) and was funded entirely by taxpayer funding (mostly NIH). Dr. Campbell has served on several expert committees on food and health policy development and has lectured extensively within and beyond the U.S., especially following his authorship of the best selling books The China Study (2005) (co-authored with Tom Campbell, MD) and Whole (2013). He is the recipient of many national and international awards, both in research and in citizenship.

Seminar Series

2013-14 Institutions, Market Processes, and the Firm Seminar Series: Jason Greenberg, NYU Stern

A Matter of (Relational) Style: Loan Officer Coherence and Consistency in Contract Enforcement in Microfinance

Please join us for our next IMPF Seminar Series on November 14th, 2013 at Cornell University from 4:30 to 6PM in the Uris Hall 302. Jason Greenberg will present his research “A Matter of (Relational) Style: Loan Officer Coherence and Consistency in Contract Enforcement in Microfinance.”

Abstract

Social scientists have long considered what mechanisms underlie repeated exchange. Three mechanisms have garnered the majority of this attention: Formal contracts, relational contracts, and embedded social ties. Although each mechanism has its virtues, all three exhibit a common limitation: An inability to fully explain the continuation of inter-temporal exchange between individuals and organizations in the face of change. Drawing on extensive quantitative data on approximately 450,000 microfinance loans made by an MFI in Mexico from 2004 -2008 that include random assignment of loan officers, this research proposes the concept of “relational styles” to help explain how repeated exchange is possible in the face of change. We define relational styles as systematically reoccurring patterns of interaction employed by social actors within and across exchange relationships–in this paper, between microfinance clients and loan officers. Findings support our arguments that social actors care about the relational styles of their counterparties in an exchange. More specifically, we show that relational styles that are coherent facilitate a clear understanding of expectations and thus exchange. We also demonstrate that consistency in the relational styles followed by successive exchange counterparties mitigates the negative impact of change, like a broken personal tie. Theoretical implications and extensions are discussed.

About

Professor Greenberg’s research focuses on economic and organizational sociology, social networks and entrepreneurship. His dissertation work investigates how social networks have a bearing on the structure, functioning and performance of entrepreneurial founding teams. This work has received awards from the Kauffman Foundation, the Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences, the Academy of Management and the National Federation of Independent Business. Prior to joining NYU Stern, Professor Greenberg was a research fellow at the Institute for Quantitative Social Science at Harvard University and a research fellow at the Departments of Computer Science and Political Science at Northeastern University.  Additionally, he has worked as a specialist clerk on the floor of the American Stock Exchange, and as a management consultant specializing in organization and employee research for global and local companies such as Agilent Technologies, American Express, AstraZeneca, Bank of America, Boeing, CSX and IBM, among others.  He has also advised several start-ups with organizational, strategic and human capital issues, and helped found and manage several family-owned businesses. Professor Greenberg received his B.A. from SUNY Binghamton, his M.A. from the University of Florida, his M.P.P. from the University of Chicago and his Ph.D. in Management from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Seminar Series

IMPF Seminar Series: Arnout van de Rijt, SUNY Stony Brook

Success Breeds Success: Evidence from InVivo Experiments

Please join us for our next IMPF Seminar Series event on October 3rd, 2013 at Cornell University from 4:30 to 6PM in the Physical Sciences Building, 401. Arnout van de Rijt will present his research “Success Breeds Success: Evidence from InVivo Experiments.”

Abstract

Successes tend to accrue to people who have been successful before. Two mechanisms can explain the relationship between past and present success. Pre-existing differentiation along fitness dimensions may repeatedly direct successes toward certain subpopulations. Alternatively, success may breed success through positive feedback. Observational studies have not been able to evidence the operation of a success-breeds-success mechanism because correlations between successes in longitudinal records may also be produced by unobserved fitness advantages. To overcome this problem of empirical confounding, we conducted randomized experiments by intervening in four live social systems across the domains of funding, status, social support, and reputation. In each system we consistently found that bestowed success upon arbitrarily selected recipients produced significant improvements in subsequent rates of success as compared to the control group of non-recipients. Experiments in which money was donated to random projects reveal that the average benefit of the treatment exceeded its cost, suggesting that under certain conditions investments may pay for themselves through the subsequent contributions they trigger, even when made in disregard of target quality.

About

Arnout van de Rijt is associate professor of sociology at SUNY Stony Brook University. Arnout’s work on social networks focuses on linking emergent network structures to principles of relationship formation. For Arnout’s contributions to social network analysis he received the 2010 Freeman Award for Distinguished Junior Scholarship and several best article awards. His work on cumulative advantage explores novel empirical strategies for studying success-breeds-success dynamics in various tournaments for resources and status and is supported by the National Science Foundation through award #1340122. Arnout’s research has been published in American Sociological Review and American Journal of Sociology.

Seminar Series

2013-14 IMPF Seminar Series

The Institutions, Market Processes, and the Firm Seminar Series

Please join us for the 2013-14 Institutions, Market Processes and the Firm Seminar Series!

October 3rd, 2013, 4:30PM, Uris Hall 302

Arnout van de Rijt, Stony Brook

Success Breeds Success: Evidence from In Vivo Experiments

November 14th, 2013, 4:30PM, Uris Hall 302

Jason Greenberg, NYU Stern

A Matter of (Relational) Style: Loan Officer Coherence and Consistency in Contract Enforcement in Microfinance

Seminar Series

Roman Galperin, Cornell University

Deskilling of Professional Services and Pseudo-Professional Identity in Tax Preparation Work

Join us for the 7th seminar in the CSES Institutions, Market Processes, and the Firm Seminar Series.

Abstract

This paper argues that deskilling of professional services creates a paradoxical situation. While the replacement of skilled workers with a combination of unskilled laborers and expertise-encapsulating technology allows firms to reduce the cost of labor and, most importantly, to access the benefits of scale, the very absence of professionals makes it difficult for the firms to then sell the services as professional services. The paper suggests a mechanism by which this paradox, heretofore unaddressed in the discussion of standardization and deskilling of professional service work, is resolved in practice. Using a case of tax preparation work in the U.S., the paper demonstrates that professional identity can emerge in non-professional, low-status workers in the context of low-paying, standardized, deskilled work. Using in-depth interviews (N=50) and a field-based survey-experiment (N=437), the paper investigates the emergence of the pseudo-professional identity and finds that because professionalism is a strong cultural concept which does not require actual professionalization to be effective, playing a professional may be equivalent to being one. The paper further finds that poor work conditions that would seem inadequate for a claim of professional practice and that ostensibly contradict and inhibit professional identity, may promote and sustain it. The paper concludes with a discussion of pseudo-professional identity as a form of organizational control.

About

Roman V. Galperin is a NSF-ASA postdoctoral fellow at Cornell University. Roman is interested in contemporary markets for expert work—their social antecedents and economic consequences. In his research, he combines qualitative and quantitative methods to identify and address several empirical puzzles: 1) How is it that a professional jurisdiction can come to be controlled not by a profession, but by an organization?; 2) How do such (pseudo-) professional identities emerge and how can they be sustained in the context of routinized, low-skill, low-pay work?; and 3) Why would professionals who are engaged in pro bono work systematically favor undeserving clients over those who are most needful and deserving of their help? Each of these questions is at the heart of how professions and organizations interact in today’s economy, and they stand as puzzles for existing theory.

Seminar Series

Todd Arthur Bridges, Cornell University

Governing Shades of Grey: The Emergence of Market Governance in the Absence of Formal Regulation

Please join us for the first Institutions, Market Processes and the Firm Seminar. Todd Arthur Bridges will present his research on “Governing Shades of Grey: The Emergence of Market Governance in the Absence of Formal Regulation.”

Abstract

Since the 1980s, a market-based institutional structure has been developing in parallel with the traditional bank-based structure and has supplanted the traditional system as the dominant source of credit for the US economy. However, the growth of this new parallel system has not been accompanied by a corresponding expansion of the formal laws and regulations that govern economic action. As a result, large sectors of the economy operate beyond traditional law and regulation and pose systemic risks to the broader economy and society. This article identifies and explicates the governance mechanisms that have emerged in one of the major markets in the new parallel system—the US hedge fund market. The empirical data for this study come from three years of field research and 40 semi-structured interviews with expert informants. This article advances a multilevel causal model of markets with research findings suggesting that (1) the emergence of a governing social order is the result of interactions between the formal institutional environment regulating the traditional financial system and the social relations, informal norms, and institutionalized practices of parallel financial organizations, and (2) governance failures emerge at specific locations where the formal and informal governance mechanisms break down.

About

Todd Arthur Bridges is managing director at the Center for the Study of Economy and Society. His research interests are in economic sociology, sociology of finance, behavioral finance, networks and institutions, mixed methods research, meso-level social order, and extra-legal governance. Todd’s graduate training, research assistantships, and teaching fellowships were done at Brown University, Harvard University, MIT, and The University of Chicago. During the 2010-2011 academic year he was a visiting fellow at the University of Oxford. During the 2011-2012 academic year he was a postdoctoral fellow at an institute within the Max Planck Society for the Advancement of Science.

Seminar Series

Vadim Radaev, Higher School of Economics

New Model of State-Market Intervention: A Case Study of State Intervention in Russian Retail Trade
Vadim Radaev poster

Please join us for our next CSES Lecture Series where Vadim Radaev will present his research on “New Model of State-Market Intervention: A Case Study of State Intervention in Russian Retail Trade.”

Professor Vadim Radaev is Chair of Economic Sociology, Head of Laboratory for Economic Sociology Studies, and First Vice-Rector of the National Research University Higher School of Economics in Moscow, Russia. Professor Radaev is also Editor-in-Chief of the e-journal ‘Economic Sociology’ (in Russian) and was editor of the European Economic Sociology Newsletter from 2011-2012. He has published nine books in Russian, including: Who Holds the Power in Consumer Markets: Retailer-Supplier Relationships in Contemporary Russia (2011), The Capture of Russian Territories: A New Competitive Situation in Retailing (2007), Economic Sociology (2005), Sociology of Markets (2003), Formation of New Russian Markets (1998), and more than 200 papers.

“The great bulk of controls over social behavior are not external but built into the relationships themselves.”— George Homans