Marcel Knudsen

Area(s) of Interest:  Work and Inequality, Organizations, Low-wage Work, Gender, Labor Markets, Social Stratification


My research focuses on work, organizations, inequality, and labor regulation in the changing American workplace. My research investigates the role of organizations in shaping working life and inequalities. Current research projects include: dissertation research on minimum wage increases in the restaurant industry; an ethnographic study of IT system upgrades in a global nonprofit; and an investigation of the applicability of machine learning methods to content analysis. The dissertation project shows that the outcomes of minimum wage policies are dependent on the social structures of restaurants. Drawing on in-depth interviews, I find that restaurants maintain and reproduce hierarchies even as minimum wage increases act to compress them, resulting in a broader impact of these laws than previously anticipated. This research engages with other empirical work on minimum wages, and advocates for the inclusion of sociological perspectives on wages and workplaces. My future research plans to reexamine these findings quantitatively, with a focus on worker career trajectories. In addition, I have an ongoing interest in research methods, particularly around the promises and pitfalls of quantitative analysis of workers and firms.


Nelson, Laura K., Derek Burke, Marcel Knudsen, and Leslie McCall. Conditionally Accepted. “The Future of Coding: A Comparison of Hand-Coding and Three Types of Computer-Assisted Text Analysis Methods.” Sociological Methods and Research.

Knudsen, Marcel. 2014. “Capital Accumulation and the Rise of Finance.” Political Power and Social Theory 26: 81-105

Courses Taught

Sociology of Organizations
Gender and Society
Medicine as Work
Statistics Lab TA