Thursday, January 26, 2023

Ken-Hou Lin and Megan Neely

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Ken-Hou Lin's main areas of interest are inequality, finance, race and immigration. He is the co-author of Divested: Inequality in the Age of Finance. Megan Neely studies gender, race, and social class inequality in the workplace and the labor force. I am a Postdoctoral Researcher at Stanford University’s VMware Women’s Leadership Innovation Lab and a Senior Researcher at Exponential Talent. From 2017-2019, I was a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Clayman Institute for Gender Research at Stanford University. In 2017, I graduated with a PhD in sociology from the University of Texas at Austin. My research examines rising economic inequality in the U.S. through the lens of gender, race, and class. I pursued sociology after working as a Research Analyst for BlackRock, Inc. from 2007-2010. This experience inspired me to study the financial services industry, specifically the mechanisms that reproduce workplace inequality on Wall Street and how the financial sector perpetuates inequality in society at large. My current book project, Hedged Out (under contract with the University of California Press), presents an insider’s look at the inner workings of the notoriously rich and secretive hedge fund industry. Hedge funds comprise one of the most lucrative and powerful industries in the U.S. The average pay at hedge funds falls well above the top one percent of earners. Like other high-paying work, women and minority men are underrepresented. Firms managed by white men manage the vast majority—97 percent—of hedge fund investments. I conducted in-depth interviews with 48 workers and field observations at 12 workplaces and 23 industry events from 2013 to 2018. Hedged Out investigates the deep and often-hidden mechanisms preventing women and racial and ethnic minority men from gaining equal access to this wealth. A second project compares hedge fund, venture capital, and technology startup firms using data from interviews and field observations. The finance and technology sectors have unprecedented access to capital yet cultures that are remarkably different. Even though technology espouses a culture of social disruption and inclusion, technology firms have low numbers of people of color and white women in leadership positions, which makes them neither more diverse nor more inclusive than financial firms. I compare the social organization of the three fields to understand why. With Ken-Hou Lin, I have a forthcoming book on why current trends in rising inequality cannot be understood without examining the rise of big finance. Divested: Inequality in the Age of Finance will be released by Oxford University Press in December of 2019. My academic research is highly relevant to those in government, policy, and industry. I have been invited to present my work at the United Nations Research Institute for Social Development’s Overcoming Inequalities summit, Tax Justice Network conference, and TechCrunch Disrupt meeting. My work has been featured in the American Sociological Association's Work in Progress, the Clayman Institute for Gender Research's Gender News, D&I in Practice, Economic Sociology and Political Economy, the Bernard and Audre Rapoport Center for Human Rights and Justice's Human Rights Working Paper Series, and UT Austin Soc.

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