Thank you for visiting my website and for your interest in my research. My broader research interests include: economic disparities, education, gender inequality, work and occupations, and spatial inequality. Much of my work focuses on the link between schools and the labor market and considers how these stratified institutions interact to (re)produce complex inequalities among U.S. workers.
I am currently a Social Policy in Residence Postdoctoral Fellow in the Center for Financial Security Retirement and Disability Research Center (CFS RDRC) at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. The CFS RDRC is an interdisciplinary, applied research program funded by the Social Security Administration, with a special focus on economically vulnerable populations.
As a fellow for the CFS RDRC, my research seeks to improve our understanding of early foundations for financial wellbeing later in life, highlighting high school as a site for policy interventions and projections. Motivated by the increasing importance of personal retirement savings, my first-year project investigated the relationship between psychological factors in adolescence and various aspects of financial retirement preparation at midlife. My second-year project examines how high school coursework shapes long-term financial security and labor force attachment - with a particular focus on the role of career and technical education (CTE) among people without bachelor's degrees, who may be most reliant on Social Security income in retirement.
My dissertation, "Academic Preparation in High School and Gendered Exposure to Economic Insecurity at Midlife," used the recent High School & Beyond midlife follow-up to examine how academic preparation in high school might provide a long-run safety net for individuals in an economically precarious and financially complex society.
Broadly, my work uses quantitative methods to investigate the roles of education, organizations, and occupations in reproducing or disrupting economic inequalities. I am particularly interested in how economic outcomes are shaped by the interaction between individuals' characteristics and opportunity structures. Much of my current work examines the relationship between individuals' pre-labor market characteristics and long-term economic outcomes, with a focus on how these relationships vary at the intersection of gender and educational attainment. Other current work falls under two general topics of research: (1) economic and educational inequalities tied to spatial variation in local labor market opportunities and (2) gender inequality in STEM occupations.
Education and Training
I received my PhD in Sociology from the University of Texas at Austin in 2019, where I was a trainee and NICHD predoctoral fellow in the Population Research Center. I also hold a JD from Loyola University Chicago School of Law and a BA in Political Science and History from Northwestern University.
Prior to graduate school, I worked as an attorney for four years in St. Louis, Missouri. My practice focused primarily on fiduciary litigation, estate planning, and trust and estate administration (including property transfers, guardian/conservatorships, and special needs trusts). My professional experience informs my understanding of the complex financial world individuals navigate to build and maintain economic security, intra- and inter-generational family and wealth dynamics, and unique risks faced by vulnerable populations.
Motivation and Perspective
My sociological perspective is rooted in my life experiences and the intellectual curiosity they fostered within me. My journey from a rural, working-class community in Missouri to an elite university made me an outlier in both places, which not only highlighted stark disparities between my college classmates and myself but also led me to wonder why I took a different path than most people from my hometown. This curiosity in the social world persisted into my career as an attorney, through my interaction with clients from different backgrounds and the gender dynamics in the legal profession. These experiences undoubtedly inform my perspective as a scholar and an educator, and I have come to view my background as an asset that enriches my research and allows me to connect with and serve as a resource for my students.
Academic Preparation in High School and Gendered Exposure to
Economic Insecurity at Midlife
Abstract of Dissertation
The shifting of risk from institutions to individuals in the new economy and increasing inequality has led to greater prevalence and heightened consequences of economic insecurity for U.S. workers in the absence of universal social safety nets. Using data from the recent midlife follow-up of the High School and Beyond study (1980), my dissertation investigates the link between individuals’ academic preparation in high school and their risk of economic insecurity at midlife in the context of a stratified and changing economy. I focus on how individuals’ pre-labor market skills influence their long-term economic outcomes, with particular attention to how gendered opportunity structures shape men’s and women’s experiences of economic vulnerability.
My dissertation examines three dimensions of economic insecurity: exposure to bad jobs, work disability/labor force participation, and overall financial insecurity. Taking a longer view of the link between education and economic outcomes, my dissertation research reveals how high school prepares students for resilience across the life course. My research can increase our understanding of how the interaction between workers’ pre-labor market characteristics and a stratified labor market contribute to significant economic inequalities among middle-aged workers.
Bosky, Amanda. 2018. “Using National Longitudinal Data to Examine Spatial Variation in Gendered School-to-Work Linkages: Mediation with Nested Regression Models.” In Sage Research Methods Cases. doi: 10.4135/9781526444158
Sutton, April, Amanda Bosky, and Chandra Muller. 2016. “Manufacturing Gender Inequality in the New Economy: High School Training for Work in Blue-Collar Communities.” American Sociological Review 81(4): 720-748.
This case study details the first data analysis project I completed when I started graduate school. Our study investigated if men and women benefited from high schools offering career and technical training for blue-collar jobs in communities where this type of work is still prevalent. We used a longitudinal national dataset to examine the connection between the local labor market, high school coursework, and student postsecondary and labor market outcomes. This case study traces the life of a research project-how to turn research questions into models, how to turn concepts into variables, and how to present your results. This case also discusses how to deal with issues of selection that arise when using different models across waves of longitudinal data and how to measure mediation using nested models with logistic regression.
Tensions between the demands of the knowledge-based economy and remaining, blue-collar jobs underlie renewed debates about whether schools should emphasize career and technical training or college-preparatory curricula. We add a gendered lens to this issue, given the male-dominated nature of blue-collar jobs and women’s greater returns to college. Using the ELS:2002, this study exploits spatial variation in school curricula and jobs to investigate local dynamics that shape gender stratification. Results suggest a link between high school training and jobs in blue-collar communities that structures patterns of gender inequality into early adulthood. Although high school training in blue-collar communities reduces both men’s and women’s odds of four-year college enrollment, it has gender-divergent labor market consequences. Young men in blue-collar communities take more blue-collar courses, have higher rates of blue-collar employment, and earn similar wages compared to men from non-blue-collar communities. Women from blue-collar communities are less likely to work and be employed in professional occupations, and they suffer severe wage penalties relative to men and other women. These relationships are due partly to blue-collar community schools offering more blue-collar and fewer advanced college-preparatory courses. This curricular tradeoff may benefit men, but it appears to disadvantage women.
Selected Media Coverage: The Atlantic, U.S. News and World Report, Forbes, The Seattle Times