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Call: Symposium on Networks and Labor Market Inequalities

Tuesday, February 15, 2022

Event Details

Symposium on

Networks and Labor Market Inequalities

Copenhagen Business School, May 26-27 2022

We invite paper submissions on networks and labor market inequalities for an in-person symposium at Copenhagen Business School in May 2022. Our understanding of labor market networks is advancing rapidly and in exciting ways, with scholars across multiple fields showing that networks matter for economic outcomes and applying network methods to many long-standing questions in the social sciences. At the Networks and Labor Market Inequalities symposium, we hope to bring together a diverse set of researchers drawing on these innovations in theory, methods, and empirics to investigate labor market inequalities.

Social networks allocate labor market positions and resources. Research has documented the impact of employers’ preference for network hiring and how workers use their social networks in job searches and for advancement within organizations. Beyond direct ties, employees and employers’ positions in broader networks are consequential, with advantage accruing to pivotal actors in a network. Actors form ties homophilously, often in highly stratified institutional contexts such as schools or workplaces, and so networks are potentially important mechanisms of inequality generation. Yet the role of networks in reproducing inequalities is not a settled question, as both network formation and utility vary across labor market contexts and actor characteristics. Recent research on labor market networks has advanced our understanding of these processes by bringing novel data (such as communication metadata, population registries, or audit studies) and robust methods to, for example, show how optimal network structures for job searches differ by gender, that Black job seekers receive fewer leads via their social networks, and that brokers differentially connect entrepreneurs as a result of industry gender biases. This work has paid attention to both the mechanisms of network inequality and causal estimates of the effects of networks.

Network researchers have also advanced our understanding of labor market inequalities by applying network theory and methods to longstanding questions of economic stratification. This work conceptualizes hiring, job shifts or other forms of mobility as generative of broader network structures, connecting workplaces, organizations, occupations, or geographical space, and suggests that broader inequalities may emerge from these networks. Exciting new work in this vein has moved beyond mapping such networks, and has begun to show how practices, norms, and institutional arrangements diffuse across the labor market via these meso- and macro-level labor market networks.

In this symposium we take stock of contemporary research on social networks and labor market inequalities, inviting both established and more junior researchers to present their cutting-edge research on topics related to this broad theme.

Contributions can be related to but are not restricted to:

  • The content and structure of actors’ networks and their effects on hiring, careers, and other labor market outcomes.
  • Meso- and macro-level labor market networks, such as mobility networks, and their implications for stratification.
  • The relationship between organizational contexts, employee networks, and inequality .
  • Novel methodological frameworks, data sources, and sampling strategies for modeling the structure of labor market networks and/or the effects of network structure on stratification outcomes

The symposium will consist of paper sessions with discussants and more informal events spread across two days. We will be able to cover travel and accommodation costs for junior scholars, and likely partial costs for other participants. Please submit either an extended abstract or full paper (max. 25 pages) to by February 15 2022. We will notify authors of acceptance by February 28. Final papers will be due on May 1.

The symposium is generously funded by the Carlsberg Foundation.