Job authority and stratification beliefs

George Wilson, Vincent J. Roscigno

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Sociological research on work and job authority, while most often highlighting the material implications of workplace status, has largely overlooked the implications of experiential aspects of work for broader orientations toward the social world including, most poignantly, stratification beliefs. Building on classic and contemporary statements regarding the centrality of workplace experiences, and utilizing data from the 2012 General Social Survey, we analyze job authority specifically and its consequences for general beliefs surrounding inequality. Results, which account for a variety of other status attributes and material benefits of employment, demonstrate how authority tasks, especially in concert with authority tenure, shape traditionally conservative ideological stances, specifically: (1) restrictive support for socioeconomic redistributive policy, and; (2) perceptions of the functional necessity of socioeconomic inequality. These patterns are robust in the face of controls, though tend to be stronger among Whites and private sector workers compared to African American and public sector workers. Our findings inform inequality scholarship by highlighting the significance of workplace experiences for stratification worldviews and arguably support for redistributive policy. They also extend the sociology of work literature by relating how workplace experiences are carried into the broader social world.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)75-97
Number of pages23
JournalResearch in the Sociology of Work
StatePublished - 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Authority
  • Ideology
  • Stratification
  • Workplace

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science


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