Robert K. Merton Award to IAS

Peter Hedström and Martin Arvidsson at the Institute of Analytical Sociology together with Francois Collet at the Department of People Management and Organisation at ESAD won the Robert K Merton best article award for their paper "The Trojan-horse mechanism: How networks reduce gender segregation" in Science Advances, Vol. 7.

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The Robert K. Merton Award for the best paper in analytical sociology is an annual award announced at the annual International Network of analytical Sociology (INAS) conference. The award is based on a thorough selection process. Nominations are sought from the international scholarly community and the decision is made by a committee of leading scholars appointed at the INAS meeting.

According to award committee the quality of this year's submissions was truly extraordinary, all 26 submissions demonstrated the great vitality of analytical sociology across different fields and methodologies. 

The researchers at the Institute for Analytical Sociology conduct cutting-edge research on important social, political, and cultural matters. This article demonstrates in an exemplary way how the principles of analytical sociology can be put to practice in cutting edge social science.

"We are very proud to receive this award as it is direct proof that we conduct high-quality research. This award gives IAS extra international attention and is crucial for the institute's reputation and future international collaborations and recruitment," says Professor Peter Hedström.

Award statement

The article advances our understanding of the role of networks in labor market segregation processes by identifying a new mechanism through which network-based recruitment reduces segregation between organizations. At the heart of the so-called Trojan-horse mechanism is the idea that individuals who leave an organization in which they are in a minority are more likely to be followed by majority-group individuals, so that initially segregating moves can unintendedly set in motion chains of desegregating moves. The article challenges the longstanding view of networks as amplifiers of segregation and adds an important mechanism to the toolbox of analytical sociology.
 
Following in the footsteps of scholars like Peter Blau, Thomas Schelling, and Harrison White, the authors demonstrate how foundational principles of analytical sociology can be put to practice in cutting edge social science. To connect micro and macro levels of analysis and to test the implications of the Trojan-horse mechanism, the study employs an innovative research design that combines causal inference, machine learning, and empirically calibrated simulations with large-scale register data on every individual and every organization residing in the greater Stockholm Metropolitan area during 2000–2017. In addition to serving as a guiding reference for analytical sociology, the article is likely to stimulate future work in various settings, as the Trojan-horse mechanism promises much wider applicability beyond the case of gender segregation across organizations.

Award Committee

The 2022 Award Committee consists of Elizabeth Bruch, Hanno Kruse, Miranda Lubbers and Clemens Kroneberg.

Previous winners of the Robert K. Merton Award 

In 2017 won Marc Keuschnigg from The Institute for Analytical Sociology, Linköping University and Tobias Wolbring from the School of Business and Economics, Friedrich-Alexander-University Erlangen-Nürnberg the award for the article “Disorder, social capital, and norm violation: Three field experiments on the broken windows thesis”, Rationality and Society 27: 96-126.

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Martin Arvidsson, F. Collet, Peter Hedström (2021)

Science Advances , Vol.7 Continue to DOI

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