Research

What determines who gets what and how much of a society’s resources? What determines who participates and to what level in the capitalist production process? These questions have been at the center of sociological inquiry for decades. Drawing on structural sociological theories and using large-scale survey data and various statistical methodologies, I offer new theoretical perspectives and empirical evidence to these timeless questions.

 

I. Income Inequality, Globalization and the Welfare State

While income inequality has increased in several advanced industrial countries in the era of globalization, scholars disagree on whether globalization or government policies are implicated in these inequality upswings. In a paper that is forthcoming in Sociological Forum, I bring new evidence to bear on this debate by contrasting the effects of globalization and welfare state indicators on measures of income inequality across 23 industrialized countries over 20 years. I find that globalization has positive effects on income inequality, whereas government social welfare policies reduce national income inequality. I find that societies that have generous social safety net programs experience no or negligible increases in economic inequality. I also find that immigration decreases income inequality. Contrasting the popular narrative that immigration fuels economic inequality, this novel finding shows that immigration does not undermine social welfare.

  • Auguste, Daniel. 2018. “Income Inequality, Globalization and the Welfare State: Evidence from 23 Industrial Countries, 1990-2009.” Sociological Forum, 33 (3): 666-689.

II. Gender Inequality and Entrepreneurship

Although women have made great strides in closing the gender gap in many areas of economic life, men continue to be overrepresented in entrepreneurship and high-growth business ownership. In one essay of my dissertation and drawing on status beliefs theory, I investigate the sources of these inequalities. I argue that societal beliefs that assign high status differences between men and women regarding competency and worthiness of valued resources will increase gender inequality in entrepreneurship. Using multilevel analysis and data from a large range of countries, I find that the stronger widely-shared status beliefs about gender differences in leadership competency and the right to employment are in a society, the greater gender inequality in entrepreneurship is in that society.

  • Auguste, Daniel. “Varieties of Gendered Capitalism: Status Beliefs and The Gender Gap in Entrepreneurship.” Revise & Resubmit (available upon request).

III. Economic Inequality, Economic Development and Entrepreneurship

Organization theories are inherently concerned with understanding the connections between organizations and social inequalities. However, a plethora of theoretical and empirical analyses have been primarily focused on understanding the processes by which organizations, once formed, maintain and reproduce social inequalities. Insufficient attention has been paid to how societal-level economic inequality may potentially influence organizational emergence in the first place. I fill this gap in the literature in two essays of my dissertation. I develop a theoretical framework linking societal-level economic inequality, economic development, individual personal qualities and entrepreneurship. Using data across a large range of advanced and less advanced economies and mixed-effects regressions, I find that economic inequality has, overall, a positive effect on entrepreneurial entry. However, the findings also demonstrate that the effect of economic inequality varies by type of entrepreneurial activities and a society’s development stages. The findings also show that the impact of personal characteristics on entrepreneurship is contextually bounded, and shaped by societal-level economic inequality. Together, these findings highlight the need for greater attention to be placed on understanding the characteristics of structural factors that give rise to entrepreneurship, as opposed to disproportionately emphasizing the characteristics of people who have already become entrepreneurs and business owners. This analysis particularly demonstrates the importance of societal-level economic inequality and a society’s position in the global economic stratification system in shaping the opportunities available to its residents to become involved in entrepreneurship, and ultimately become business owners.

  • Auguste, Daniel. 2020. “Who Becomes a Business Owner in High-Inequality Regimes? The Conditioning Effect of Economic Inequality on the Impact of Individual Educational and Financial Endowment on Entrepreneurship.” Social Currents 7(2): 131–154.

  • Auguste, Daniel. 2021. “The Impact of Economic Inequality on Entrepreneurship: Does a Society’s Stage of Development Make a Difference?” Sociological Perspectives, 64(2): 176-195.

  • Auguste, Daniel. “The Precarity of Self-employment among Low- and Moderate-income Households” Revise & Resubmit (with Stephen Roll and Mathieu Despard).

IV. Transnationalism, Cultural Exchange and Organizational Change

A core motivation of organizational research is the desire to understand why organizations constantly change, despite organizations’ strong affinity for stability, order and familiarity. The extent to which organizations or their members are exposed to alternative institutional logic has been suggested as a potential source of organizational change. However, narratives in this research tradition tend to emphasize sources of alternative institutional logic emerging from organizations’ immediate environment. Research emphasizes alternative institutional logic deriving from organizational collaboration within organizational fields and organizations’ immediate communities and notional borders. Drawing on social constructionist views of organization, I propose a theoretical framework that includes sources of alternative institutional logic stretching beyond an organization’s immediate community and national borders through transnational social exchange. I demonstrate that transnationalism, defined as cross-borders connections and movements, may constitute a viable source of alternative institutional logic for fostering organizational change. I also show that organizational culture and prior history with change may condition the process and the types of changes that are actually implemented in an organization. I illustrate my theoretical framework using a recent case of organizational change that occurred at Brooklyn College and the involvement of the Haitian transnational community in this process.

  • Auguste, Daniel. “Transnationalism and Organizational Change: New Theoretical Insights on Sources of Organizational Change.” In preparation (available upon request).

V. Culture, Religion, Social Capital, Social Inclusion, Exclusion, and Inequality

Religion has been associated with the promotion of social welfare, cohesion, and development. In the United States, some have even argued that religion constitutes the glue that binds society together. In contrast, religion has also been implicated in the nurturing of division and oppression, such as racial segregation, discrimination, and white supremacy in general, and as justification for social exclusion, such as anti-multiculturalism, anti-immigrant and nationalist rhetoric, in particular. Using data from a large range of countries and multilevel analysis, I seek to reconcile these seemingly paradoxical narratives about religion as a source of social cohesion and its common use to justify social differentiation and exclusion.

I find that the greater the extent to which people believe in the authenticity of their own religion and the inauthenticity of others’, the less likely they are to accept immigrants, people of a different race, or those who speak a different language as neighbors. They are also less likely to trust people of another religion and nationality. On the other hand, results show that religious individuals are more likely than their non-religious counterparts to trust people of another nationality, and to accept immigrants, people of a different race, and those who speak a different language as neighbors. These findings reveal an important distinction between individuals’ exclusive religious beliefs and their overall religiosity, which helps to explain why religion has been implicated simultaneously in the promotion of both social cohesion and exclusion. Finally, this analysis suggests that the connection between religion and social exclusion may be a consequence of religious intolerance rather than religiosity.

  • Auguste, Daniel. 2019. “Exclusive Religious Beliefs and Social Capital: Unpacking Nuances in the Relationship between Religion and Social Capital Formation.” Issues in Race & Society: An Interdisciplinary Global Journal.

  • Auguste, Daniel. “Unpacking the Mechanisms Linking Religion and Socioeconomic Standing of Individuals: An Empirical and Cross-national Analysis.” Under Review (available upon request).

© 2020 by Daniel Auguste PhD