My research spans the fields of political, medical, development, and cultural sociology, and focuses on the contours of globalization, social policy, and political culture. I seek to understand processes of social change by examining the macro-influences at the level of the nation-state and beyond (governments, international organizations) as well as micro-level dynamics (individual attitudes). My interest in social policy and institutions has led me to investigate topics ranging from public attitudes about science and religion in the U.S. to health policy reform in Latin America. I am currently engaged in three main lines of research related to these general interests. Links to my published work can be found at the bottom of this page.
Globalization and Health Policy
My primary research interest lies in examining how globalization influences health policy in developing countries. While I conceptualize states’ decisions about social policy reform in the context of the theoretical literature on the welfare state I am also interested in ways in which globalization, both economic and political, influences discourses surrounding and concrete social policy decisions. More information about my recent book Banking on Health can be found here. I have also published several peer-reviewed papers on this topic. My 2011 paper, in the International Journal of Comparative Sociology, extends existing research from the OECD to the Latin American context. Results indicate that unemployment is associated with higher levels of social spending and spending on welfare and social security in both regions while a larger proportion of elderly population is associated with higher spending in Latin America. In Latin America and the Caribbean the presence of international financial institutions (IFIs) powerfully pattern health and social spending: decreasing spending on welfare and social security and increasing health spending. In 2013 I published an article in the Revista de Ciencias Sociales (in Spanish) examining the World Bank’s health policies, tracing its approach to health reform and its health spending over time, contextualizing this data with information about the World Bank’s effect on health reform in Chile, Colombia, and Mexico. In 2015 I published a piece with Patricia McManus in the inaugural double issue of Sociology of Development that examines trends and convergence in health expenditure in Latin America from 1995 to 2011. We find convergence in overall health spending, consistent with modernization theory. In addition, we find little support for cutbacks in public health expenditures in the region as public share of health spending increased over this time period, with no convergence in the public-private mix. The findings indicate robust heterogeneity of national health care systems and suggest that globalization fosters human investment health policies rather than neoliberal, “race to the bottom” cutbacks in public health expenditures. In a 2017 paper with Jessica Sprague-Jones we develop a quantitative, regionally-appropriate measure of delta-convergence. In 2016, my colleague Koen Voorend and I published a piece in the Journal of International Migration and Integration that examines the nexus of migration and health policy in Argentina, Chile, and Costa Rica. We argue that health policies are increasingly used as a way to manage immigration, and that the direction that health and migration policy has taken in each country varies by these countries' social policy regimes, the perceived legitimacy of migrants' claims to social rights, and in some case international and regional treaties. In ongoing research I use cross-section time-series models to examine the effect of IFIs on health spending. In a recent article in Latin American Policy I contrast the Costa Rican government's and the World Bank's discourse surrounding health in Costa Rica drawing from official development plans and World Bank documents. I find that while the Costa Rican government and the World Bank both discuss issues of equity and efficiency they discuss them in the context of differing logics. This analysis reveals that the World Bank's approach to health in Latin America and the Caribbean is variable across countries rather than monolithically neoliberal as the experience of Chile in particular would suggest. My Oxford Development Studies article on targeting in health policy argues that targeted polices are not always oppositional to pursuit of universalism in health policy, and examines why and how the World Bank pursed different strategies for targeted programs in Argentina, Costa Rica, and Peru.
Science, Religion, Political Culture, and Public Opinion
In a second line of research, I examine political culture and public opinion in the context of science and religion. The first project in this line of research is in collaboration with Tim O’Brien examining Americans’ attitudes towards science and religion. In a paper which was published in 2015 in the American Sociological Review we use General Social Survey (GSS) data from 2006, 2008 and 2010 to examine whether Americans’ attitudes towards science and religion cluster in meaningful ways. Our latent class analysis identifies three distinct orientations toward science and religion: Traditional, Modern, and Post-Secular.
In a second paper, in Socius we examine how these perspectives on science and religion affect public opinion on a wide variety of economic, political, and social issues. In ongoing research, we are examining how perspectives on science and religion serve as a basis for political conflict, develop over time, and how they vary cross-nationally. In our third paper, published in 2018 in The Sociological Quarterly we employ an intersectional approach to examine how race/ethnicity and gender pattern public perspectives on science and religion. We argue that the collective memory of gendered experiences with racism vis-à-vis science and religion contribute to group-specific views of these two sources of knowledge and authority.
We have recently begun extending our research on public perspectives on science and religion internationally. In a paper published in the Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion we draw on nationally representative data from 37 countries to examine how national context shapes perceptions of conflict between science and religion. We find that exposure to science is associated with more trust in science relative to religion whereas religiosity is associated with less trust in science relative to religion. Moreover, these relationships are amplified in secular societies and in those where science is prioritized. We argue that secular and scientific societies provide a context in which personal characteristics are more influential in the formation of social attitudes.
Our article “Science for Good? The Effects of Education and National Context on Perceptions of Science” in Public Understanding of Science extends our international work and argues that pressing environmental, social, and economic problems require interventions informed by scientific expertise yet skepticism of organized science runs high among some groups. Numerous studies show how individual-level experiences and identities translate into attitudes about science, but less is known about the contextual factors that shape these beliefs. We employ regression models using data from the International Social Survey Program and the World Development Indicators to examine how national levels of scientific activity influence public perceptions of science. Our analysis of data from 76,858 individuals in 41 countries finds that education is associated with greater appreciation of science cross-nationally. This relationship is amplified in countries with high levels of scientific activity and attenuated in countries with less scientific activity. These results underscore the importance of national context for understanding perceptions of science, and suggest that improving science attitudes requires attention to both individual and country-level factors. This article was also summarized in a blog post.
Development and Inequality
My third line of research examines development and inequality both in the U.S. and globally. In a paper with Kevin Doran, published in the 2015 issue of Political and Military Sociology we use the Minorities at Risk dataset to examine the effects of globalization and national conditions on violent and non-violent ethnic conflict—rebellion and protest respectively— in 106 countries between 1985 and 2002. We draw from the literatures on ethnic fractionalization and modernization at the national level, and world polity and world-systems theories at the global level. While all four theoretical approaches suggest predictors that pattern non-violent ethnic conflict, modernization and world polity theory provide the most relevant predictors for the severity of violent ethnic conflict against the state.
I have published a piece on race, ethnicity and nationalism in a reader used for teaching race and ethnic relations Race and Ethnic Relations in the 21st Century: History, Theory, Institutions and Policy, edited by Rashawn Ray. In this piece, questions about how race relations have historically shaped the United States’ social and economic development take center stage. In a 2012 piece in the Journal of Higher Education, Rashawn Ray and I find evidence that women of color and students in the biological and physical sciences report significantly less support from their advisors in graduate school than other groups. In particular, women of color report feeling that their primary graduate advisors treat their ideas with less respect than other groups. We are working on an invited book chapter for an edited volume in this line of research.
Noy, Shiri. 2017. Banking on Health: The World Bank and Health Sector Reform in Latin America. London, England: Palgrave Macmillan.
review by Timothy Gill in Social Forces
review by Howard Waitzkin in Contemporary Sociology
Noy, Shiri and Timothy L. O’Brien. 2019. “Science for Good? The effects of education and national context on perceptions of science?” Public Understanding of Science. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1177/0963662519863575 [pdf]
Matthew A. Painter II, Shiri Noy, and Malcolm D. Holmes. 2019. “Skin tone and asset inequality in Latin America.” Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies. DOI: 10.1080/1369183X.2019.1592881. [pdf]
O’Brien, Timothy L. and Shiri Noy. 2018. “Cultural Authority in Comparative Context: A Multilevel Analysis of Trust in Science and Religion.” Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion 57(3): 495-513. [pdf]
Noy, Shiri and Timothy L. O’Brien. 2018. “An Intersectional Analysis of Perspectives on Science and Religion in the United States.” The Sociological Quarterly 59(1): 40-61. [pdf]
Noy, Shiri. 2018. “Healthy Targets? World Bank Projects and Targeted Health Programmes and Policies in Peru, Argentina, and Costa Rica, 1980-2005.” Oxford Development Studies 46(2):164-183. [pdf]
Noy, Shiri and Randa Jabbour. 2017. “Using Egocentric Networks to Illustrate Information Seeking and Sharing by Alfalfa Farmers in Wyoming.” Journal of Extension 55(2): 2RIB1 1-7. [pdf]
Noy, Shiri and Jessica Sprague-Jones. 2016. “Comparative dynamics in public health spending: Re-conceptualizing delta-convergence to examine how convergence occurs in the OECD and Latin America.” International Journal of Comparative Sociology 57(6): 425-448.[pdf]
Noy, Shiri and Timothy L. O'Brien. 2016. "A Nation Divided: Science, Religion, and Public Opinion in the United States." Socius: Sociological Research for a Dynamic World (2): 1-15. [pdf]
Noy, Shiri and Koen Voorend. 2016. “Social Rights and Migrant Realities: Migration Policy Reform and Migrants' Access to Health Care in Costa Rica, Argentina, and Chile.” Journal of International Migration and Integration 17(2): 605-629. [pdf]
Noy, Shiri and Kevin Doran. 2015. “Globalization and the National Determinants of Ethnic Conflict.” Political and Military Sociology: An Annual Review 43: 27-57. [pdf]
Noy, Shiri. 2015. “The Washington Consensus and Social Policy: World Bank Projects and Health Sector Reform in Costa Rica.” Latin American Policy 26(2): 182-204. (lead article) [pdf]
Noy, Shiri and Patricia A. McManus. 2015. "Modernization, Globalization, Trends, and Convergence in Health Expenditure in Latin America and the Caribbean." Sociology of Development 1(2): 321-346.[pdf]
O’Brien Timothy L. and Shiri Noy. 2015. “Traditional, Modern, and Post-Secular Perspectives on Science and Religion in the United States.” American Sociological Review 80(1): 92-115. [pdf]
Noy, Shiri. 2014. “Secrets and the Sociological Imagination: Using PostSecret.com to Illustrate Sociological Concepts.” Teaching Sociology 43(3): 187-195. [pdf]
Noy, Shiri. 2013. “Las Políticas de Salud del Banco Mundial [The World Bank's Health Policies].” Revista de Ciencias Sociales 142(5): 75-85. [pdf, in Spanish]
Noy, Shiri and Rashawn Ray. 2012. “Graduate Students' Perceptions of Their Advisors: Is There Systematic Disadvantage in Mentorship?” Journal of Higher Education 83(6): 876-914. [pdf]
Noy, Shiri. 2011. “New Contexts, Different Patterns? A Comparative Analysis of Social Spending and Government Health Expenditure in Latin America and the OECD.” International Journal of Comparative Sociology 52(3): 215-244. [pdf]
Noy, Shiri. 2019. “An Emergent Sociology of Global Health and Development: An Introduction” Sociology of Development 5(1): 1-8. [pdf]
(foreword as guest editor for a special issue of Sociology of Development special issue on Global Health and Development)
Noy, Shiri. 2019. Book Review: Teaching with Compassion: An Educator’s Oath to Teach from the Heart. Teaching Sociology 47(3): 243–244.
Noy, Shiri. 2019. Book Review: Development after Statism: Industrial Firms and the Political Economy of South Asia. American Journal of Sociology 124(4): 1277–1279.
Noy, Shiri and Kathleen C. Oberlin. September 8, 2011. “On the Spot: Tips for Successfully Handling the Q&A.” Chronicle of Higher Education.
Kennedy, John, Brian Powell, J. Scott Long, Kyle Dodson, Emily Meanwell, Shiri Noy, and Tim O’Brien. 2011. “Examining the Science and Technology Items in the General Social Survey.” Report to the National Science Foundation.
Noy, Shiri. 2010. “Citizenship, Nationalism and Human Rights.” In Race and Ethnic Relations in the 21st Century: History, Theory, Institutions and Policy edited by Rashawn Ray. University Readers, Social Issues Collection of Routledge, 261-268. Type your paragraph here.
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