10-11 Michelle Maroto


Michelle Maroto earned a PhD in the Department of Sociology at the University of Washington in 2012. She is currently an Assistant Professor in Sociology at the University of Alberta. Her dissertation examines theories of cumulative disadvantage by examining whether credit and labor markets intersect through the event of bankruptcy to disadvantage certain individuals over time. Her research interests are stratification, economic sociology, labor and credit markets, organizations, race and gender, quantitative and qualitative research methods, and women's studies.

WCPC Funded Research:

The Scarring Effects of Bankruptcy: Cumulative Disadvantage Across Credit and Labor Markets 
Faculty Supervisor:  Barbara Reskin, Department of Sociology

Cumulative disadvantage theory predicts divergence over time between individuals. One person builds resources and assets, while another loses them, thus increasing inequality. Her dissertation research builds on this theory by examining the accumulation of disadvantage across credit and labor markets through the determinants and consequences of bankruptcy. Previous research shows a consistent connection between labor market situations and bankruptcy, where adverse events that include a loss of income are the strongest individual-level predictors. After bankruptcy, labor and credit markets again intertwine through the transmission of credit history and the stigma attached to debt and bankruptcy. Sharing stigmatized information across markets can potentially exacerbate disadvantage for an individual in other areas. She will test a model that depicts a cycle of job loss, increased debt, and bankruptcy over time as part of a process of cumulative disadvantage. Because the theory of cumulative disadvantage predicts that inequality increases over time, testing it necessitates a longitudinal analysis. She utilizes two longitudinal datasets—the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth and the Panel Study of Income Dynamics—to estimate predictors and outcomes of bankruptcy filing using fixed effects and multi-level models.