One of the leading names in social policy research, Lynn Prince Cooke, has joined the Department of Social & Policy Sciences to continue her research into societal divisions of labour and subsequent life course outcomes.
Professor Cooke is well-known for her entrepreneurial research.
After obtaining an MBA from the University of Michigan in 1986 and working briefly in brand management at a Fortune 500 firm, she realised that the products were not nearly as interesting as the people and processes that made them.
She began an independent consulting business that specialised in facilitating labour-management cooperation to ensure future competitiveness in an increasingly global economy.
Professor Cooke expanded this cooperative approach in the 1990s to address regional employment challenges. She was appointed Vice President at the Economic Development Council of Seattle-King County, charged with working with community leaders to research and develop programmes in school-to-work, work-based training, and other policies affecting workforce capacity.
She said: “Economists look at earning potential but I will be working with colleagues at Bath such as Professor Paul Gregg to look at the social perspective and the economic impact.
“My goal is to work with colleagues to develop an integrated approach and look at what we know in multiple disciplines, how we can bring partners together to develop a more holistic view of the impact of policy on life chances.”
Professor Cooke began a doctorate in 1998 at Northwestern University to study the role of government policies in shaping divisions of labour, and transferred to the University of Oxford in 2001.
Her research combines policy comparisons with quantitative analyses of individual-level outcomes using large-scale datasets, and has been supported by grants from the British Academy, the Economic & Social Research Council, as well as international funding agencies.
Her research monograph, Gender-Class Equality in Political Economies (Routledge 2011) traced the policy paths in Australia, East and West Germany, Spain, the United Kingdom, and the United States to illustrate how relative equality in education, work hours, wages, and unpaid domestic work develops over historical time and across individuals’ life courses.
Her findings suggest new policy directions for enhancing not only group equality, but also national economic prosperity. Other recent research includes being the principal investigator on the Gender Equality in Relationship Transitions (GERT) project funded by the Leverhulme Trust. GERT is a collaboration with 12 international colleagues, which revealed how greater policy support for gender employment equality predicts a lower relative risk of divorce associated with wives’ employment.
Professor Cooke’s research has appeared in the most prestigious international sociology and social policy journals, and she was commissioned to write the Journal of Marriage and Family’s 2010 decade review article: “Families in International Context: Comparing Institutional Effects Across Western Societies.” (with Janeen Baxter).
Her 2006 article on “Doing Gender in Context” was nominated for the 2007 Rosabeth Moss Kanter Award for Excellence in Work-Family Research, while her 2010 article with Vanessa Gash on “Wives’ Part-Time Employment and Marital Stability in Great Britain, West Germany and the United States” was selected as a finalist for the 2011 Award.*
Professor Cooke is a consulting editor for American Journal of Sociology and a member of the editorial board for the European Sociological Review. She serves as an expert reviewer on UK as well as international research grants and higher education excellence initiatives, and is a founding member of the Work and Family Researchers Network based at the University of Pennsylvania.
She said: “The University of Bath has an excellent reputation and produces some internationally excellent research. Bath is a beautiful city and I am looking forward to living here.”