Congratulations to Professor Ethan Fosse, whose work has been recognized with the Connaught New Researcher Award. Professor Fosse is one of six sociology faculty members to receive this award in 2019. The annual award provides up to $20,000 to new tenure-stream faculty members, and is intended to help them establish a strong research program, and subsequently increase their competitiveness for external funding. “These researchers are doing exciting, innovative work across many different disciplines. It’s the University of Toronto’s hope that this funding will help set the stage for world-leading scholarship and important new discoveries,” stated Vivek Goel, Vice-President, Research and Innovation, and Strategic Initiatives.
Professor Fosse’s project, “The Consequences of Downward Social Mobility in the United States and Canada,” aims to provide empirical evidence on the individual-level consequences of social mobility and to address the methodological weaknesses of existing research on the topic.
Downward social mobility, or the movement of an individual from an upper to lower class position, is an increasingly common experience for many people around the world. Some scientific work and much popular debate have speculated on the likely pernicious effects of rising rates of downward mobility on a range of outcomes, from extreme political views to early mortality. Yet, due to critical limitations of existing methods, the social and behavioural sciences still lack valid empirical evidence on the effects of social mobility on a wide variety of important outcomes.
Professor Fosse’s research seeks to remedy this problem by developing a new set of methodological tools for studying the effects of downward social mobility on individuals’ well being (e.g., perceived happiness and stress), attitudes (e.g., trust, political ideology, and out-group bias), and behaviours (e.g., voting, marriage, and fertility). As a result, this project will provide new evidence to address long-standing concerns about the adverse consequences of downward social mobility in the United States and Canada.