Laura Adler, PhD, Harvard University 2022

Laura Adler's picture

Laura Adler’s research examines topics at the intersection of organizations, gender, and cultural sociology with a focus on the future of work. Her recent research explores how the interaction between organizations and pay equity laws has shaped employers’ pay-setting practices. Using multiple methods including in-depth interviews, archival research, and survey experiments, this project provides insight into pay-setting as an organizational practice and site for the reproduction of inequality.

Other projects explore the world of work from the perspectives of workers, employers, and regulatory authorities. One paper explains why highly educated artists so often choose to earn a living from “bad” jobs. Another examines the role of cultural frames—and specifically the concept of regulatory capture—in shaping public debates over how to regulate the gig economy. In a paper coauthored with Elena Ayala-Hurtado, she explores how job-seekersnavigate the tension between two powerful cultural scripts: on the one hand, a social capital script that impels us to use connections to access jobs and, on the other, a script about meritocracy that portrays the use of social ties as nepotism. Laura specializes in mixed methods design, using fieldwork to develop novel hypotheses and testing these in using experiments, surveys, and archival data.


L. Adler 2022 Gender Equity against ‘Economic Realities’: How a Conflict between Two Movements Reshaped the Cultural Understanding of Pay Mobilization, issue 4, vol. 27, pp. 389-407

L. Adler 2021 Framing Disruption: The Regulatory Capture Frame in the Deregulation of Boston’s Ride-for-Hire Industry Socio-Economic Review

L. Adle2021 Choosing Bad Jobs: The Use of Nonstandard Work as a Commitment Device Work and Occupations, issue 2, vol. 48, pp. 207-242

M. Small and L. Adler 2019 The Role of Space in the Formation of Social Ties Annual Review of Sociology, vol. 45, pp. 111-132

M. Lamont, L. Adler, B. Y. Park, and X. Xiang Bridging Cultural Sociology and Cognitive Psychology in Three Contemporary Research Programs Nature Human Behaviour, vol. 1, pp. 866-872