My research interests include the areas of poverty & inequality, social stratification, families & children, work/employment, and the U.S. South. Broadly, my research is fundamentally concerned with inequality and how micro and macro contexts help create, maintain, and reproduce inequalities. Given my theoretical and substantive emphasis on both the individual and structure, my work employs various research designs. For example, I use advanced quantitative techniques and large data sets to investigate how micro- and macro-level factors influence individual outcomes. I also employ qualitative techniques such as analyzing longitudinal ethnographic data to study low-income families with children.
Currently, my research focuses on two areas: 1) the causes and consequences of inequality and how these impact child and family outcomes and 2) inequalities across place, namely the South, and its disproportionate share of the nation’s socio-economic problems such as poverty. My recent Journal of Marriage and Family publication, “The Changing Associations Among Marriage, Work, and Child Poverty in the United States, 1974-2010,” combines my interests in poverty, work, and the family. This research documents that while both marriage and work continue protect children against poverty, their relative importance has changed over time with work becoming more salient than marriage.