Joanna Pepin

PhD, 2018

Joanna Pepin's research explores the relationship between historical changes in families and stratification. Her dissertation investigates the organization and use of money in couples' romantic relationships. Joanna is an award winner of the Special Competition for Young Investigators from Time-sharing Experiments for the Social Sciences’ (TESS) and is currently investigating beliefs about the treatment of money in families. With funding support from the Maryland Population Research Center, Joanna is finishing a paper about national differences in the ways cohabiting and married couples integrate their financal resources. Her dissertation was awarded a Doctoral Dissertation Research Improvement Grant from the National Science Foundation. She is conducting interviews with couples to evaluate how beliefs about money and relationships are negotiated in actuality.

Her research has appeared in the Journal of Marriage and FamilySociological Inquiry and Sociological Spectrum. A collaborative paper forthcoming in Demography investigated marital status differences in mothers' time use. A paper in the Journal of Marriage and Family shows that rising egalitarian ideology in the marketplace has been met with renewed beliefs in gender essentialism in the family. This co-authored paper received national media attention, covered by news outlets such as the New York Times, Washington Post, and Time MagazineHer research on celebrity domestic violence was also featured in the Gaurdian, Sociological Images, and Alternet

She is affiliated with the Time Use Lab, the premier U.S. institution on time use, spearheaded by Professor Liana Sayer and the Culture Lab, directed by Professor Melissa Milkie.



"Inequality and the Household Economy"

My mixed-method dissertation, Inequality and the Household Economy, investigates the mechanisms associated with different types of money arrangements in families. It bridges literature on money as a gendered resource and research examining couples’ financial integration as a signal of relationship investment. With funding support from the Time-sharing Experiments for the Social Sciences, I conducted a vignette-survey experiment on a nationally representative sample of U.S. adults to determine normative beliefs about how money ideally operates in families. Findings challenge the notion that marriage distinctively encourages beliefs in family integration and suggest normative support for women’s self-determination in lieu of a push for gender equality. In the second chapter, I used data from the 2012 International Social Survey Programme to show that the level of gender inequality at the national level, combined with couples’ marital status, was a better predictor of whether couples treat earnings as a shared or personal asset than differences in partners’ earnings. In the third chapter, funded by a Doctoral Dissertation Research Improvement Grant from the National Science Foundation, I am conducting interviews with couples to evaluate how ideals about money and relationships are negotiated in actuality. This chapter will show how the impact of couples’ income sharing strategies on family stability is conditional on class position.


Areas of Interest:
  • Inequality
  • Families
  • Gender
  • Life Course
  • Culture
  • Methods
  • MA Sociology (University of Maryland)
  • MS Human Development and Family Studies (Colorado State University)

Pepin, Joanna R. and David A. Cotter. Separating Spheres? Diverging Trends in Youth’s Gender Attitudes about Work and Family. Forthcoming in Journal of Marriage and Family., Passias, Emily, Liana Sayer, and Joanna R. Pepin. “Who Experiences Leisure Deficits? Mothers’ Marital Status and Leisure Time.” Journal of Marriage and Family. DOI: 10.1111/jomf.12365, Pepin, Joanna R. 2016. “Nobody’s Business? White Male Privilege in Media Coverage of Intimate Partner Violence.” Sociological Spectrum 0:1 – 19., Milkie, Melissa A., Joanna R. Pepin , and Kathleen E. Denny. 2016. “What Kind of War? ‘Mommy Wars’ Discourse in U.S. and Canadian News, 1989–2013.” Sociological Inquiry 86:51 – 78.

  • Joanna Pepin
3108 Art/Sociology Building
Department of Sociology