I am a PhD Candidate in Sociology at the University of California, Berkeley. I hold Master’s Degrees in Sociology (UC Berkeley) and Public Policy (University of Chicago). My research examines how the structure of labor markets, employment relations, and the organization of work within firms shapes inequality and mobility. My work uses panel data methods, causal inference, and survey experiments.

My dissertation aims to understand how local labor markets structure workers’ opportunity for earnings attainment and mobility over their career. I argue that rising inequality between places within the US and declining lifetime earnings mobility are linked, in part by how local differences in the occupational structure create unequal opportunities for workers to realize earnings growth over their career. I show that the polarization of local labor markets’ occupational structure into “good” and “bad” jobs doubly advantages managers and professionals: polarization disproportionately increases both their early-career earnings and their rate of earnings growth over the career. These dynamics amplify inequality over the life course and their effects are particularly strong in more recent cohorts. I also show that polarization amplifies local racial and gender inequalities, especially in labor markets where nonwhite and female workers are underrepresented in managerial and professional occupations.

A second strand of my research studies the organizational dynamics of work schedule inequality among low-wage workers. In a first-authored paper published in the ILR Review, I show how precarious work schedules increase turnover through their effect on job satisfaction and work-family conflict, and in turn contribute to downward earnings mobility. In another paper I use survey experiments to show how female managers amplify work scheduling inequalities for their employees who are mothers.


Email: jbchoper{at}berkeley{dot}edu