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-seekers navigate 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.
PhD, Harvard University 2022
Gender Equity against ‘Economic Realities’: How a Conflict between Two Movements Reshaped the Cultural Understanding of Pay
Framing Disruption: The Regulatory Capture Frame in the Deregulation of Boston’s Ride-for-Hire Industry
Louis Pondy Best Dissertation Paper Award, Academy of Management OMT Division, 2023
AOM William H. Newman Award, Academy of Management, Finalist, 2023
Best Dissertation Award, AOM Social Issues in Management Division, Winner, 2023
Best Student Paper, ASA Collective Behavior and Social Movements Section, Honorable Mention, 2023
Cheryl Allyn Miller Award for Best Student Paper, Sociologists for Women in Society, 2021
Best Student Paper Award, ASA Sociology of Law Section, 2021
Best Student Paper Award, ASA Labor and Labor Movements Section, 2021
Candace Rogers Student Paper Award, Eastern Sociological Society, Honorable Mention, 2021
Burt Award for Best Student Paper, ASA Economic Sociology Section, Honorable Mention, 2020
Best Graduate Student Paper, ASA Altruism, Morality, and Social Solidarity Section, Co-Winner, 2020
Jeanne Humphrey Block Dissertation Award, Harvard University, 2020
Rose Laub Coser Dissertation Proposal Award, Eastern Sociological Society, 2020
Certificate of Distinction, Bok Center for Teaching and Learning, Harvard University, 2017 and 2020
Early Career Workshop Award, Society for the Advancement of Socio-Economics, 2019