This week, the CIRHR welcomes its three newest faculty members, Santiago Campero, Alicia Eads, and Padraic Scanlan. To learn more about Dr. Campero and Dr. Scanlan, see their companion pieces in this three-part series of introductions.
Assistant Professor Alicia Eads, who is cross-appointed with the University of Toronto Department of Sociology, has been a Postdoctoral Fellow in Sociology since 2017. Prior to coming to U of T, Alicia received her PhD from Cornell University, with a dissertation examining the policy response to the housing market collapse in the recent financial crisis in the U.S., and exploring the theoretical puzzle of how culture affects policy action.
Alicia’s research, which spans several substantive areas, uses computational and qualitative methods to understand how cultural meaning affects economic and political processes. This work contributes to cultural sociology and institutional perspectives, as well as economic and financial sociology, with an aim to provide insight into the causes and consequences of economic inequality.
In ongoing work, Alicia examines the process of financialization of various aspects of people’s lives and consider the promise of economic advancement as well as the potential for exploitation. One current project focuses on worker compensation and another on housing finance.
What research will you be working on at the CIRHR?
I am excited to be starting work on a new project examining the growing phenomenon of employee stock ownership plans (ESOPs) and employee stock participation plans (ESPPs). Are these plans a win-win for companies and employees? Do they function as “shared capitalism” or do they spread risk? What are the institutional conditions under which they function more like the former and less like the latter?
What first got you interested in researching housing and policy?
As a graduate student I was captivated by the global financial crisis and the devastated U.S. housing market at the centre of it. Even as the fallout from that crisis recedes, the world-wide problem of affordable housing looms large. There are two sides to the problem of affordable housing, one is the cost of housing and the other is stagnating incomes. Both of these issues are strongly implicated in growing economic inequality, which has always been the undercurrent in my work.
What is your favourite thing to do outside of academia?
I love the peace that comes with a run in the woods or a hike in the mountains. While it is not quite as peaceful, I have recently been enjoying introducing my 3-year-old daughter to the joys of running and hiking.