Jerry A. Jacobs, Ph.D.

Jerry A. Jacobs

Professor of Sociology


365 McNeil
jjacobs at


Jerry A. Jacobs has been a member of the faculty in sociology at Penn since 1983, when he completed his Ph.D. in sociology at Harvard. He was on leave during the 2018-2019 academic year as a Fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences (CASBS) at Stanford University.  

Jacobs has served as the Editor of the American Sociological Review and is the Founding President of the Work and Family Researchers Network. His research has addressed a number of aspects of women's employment, including authority, earnings, working conditions, part-time work and work-family conflict, and entry into male-dominated occupations. He has authored or edited 10 books and journal special issues, published 80 academic papers and received more than 30 research grants. Jacobs’ study of interdisciplinary scholarly communication, In Defense of Disciplines: Interdisciplinarity, Specialization and the Research University, published in 2014 by the University of Chicago Press. His other books include The Changing Face of Medicine, with Ann Boulis, (Cornell University Press, 2008), The Time Divide, with Kathleen Gerson (Harvard University Press, 2004), and Revolving Doors: Sex Segregation and Women's Careers (Stanford University Press, 1989). His current projects include a multi-faceted exploration of the future of work, which includes a case study of technological change and elder care. In conjunction with his course on Social Problems and Public Policy, he is making the case for international and global approaches to social issues.   

Future of Work News

Jacobs is working on a book on the future of work that will include case studies of blacksmiths and secretaries. During the 2018-2019 academic year, Jerry A. Jacobs was a Fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences (CASBS) at Stanford University. While at CASBS, Jacobs worked on a multi-faceted exploration of the future of work, including a case study of technology and elder care. Two papers in this area appeared during 2019: "Technology-Driven Task Replacement and the Future of Employment" (with Rachel Karen, in Research in the Sociology of Work) and "Technology, Work and Family" (with Arianne Ollier-Malaterre and Nancy Rothbard, in the Annual Review of Sociology).  Jacobs'  lecture, "Will the Robots Take Care of Grandma?" has been presented at Stanford and a number of other settings, including the Institute for Women's Policy Research. A podcast of Jacobs' lecture can be found by clicking here on the IWPR website. 

Work and Family News

Jacobs' latest publication in this area is called "Technology. Work and Family."

Jerry A. Jacobs received the Worklife Legacy Award at the June 2014 meetings of the Work and Family Researchers Network in New York. The Award recognized Jacobs’ scholarly and organizational contributions to the work-family field.

Interdisciplinarity and Journal News

Jacobs has been promoting the idea that  sociology journals should clearly display data on acceptance rates and review times on the journal websites. He mades the case for this change in 2020 essay



Ph.D., Sociology, Harvard University, 1983
A.B. Sociology, Harvard University, 1977

Research Interests
  • Technology and the Future of Work
  • Aging and Carework
  • Work and Family 
  • Women's Careers
  • Disciplines and Interdisciplinarity, including trends in publishing in Sociology
  • International Dimensions of Social Problems
Courses Taught

/sites/default/files/jj%20boulis%20and%20jacobs%202004.pdfSociology 1 (Introduction to Sociology)

Sociology 2 (Social Problems)

  • Sociology 130: Work and Careers in the 21st Century
  • Sociology 555/556: Proseminar for First Year Graduate Students in Sociology
  • Management 104: Industrial Relations and Human Resource Management                                                               (Wharton School, Management Department)

and a new course entitled "Work and Careers in the 21st Century"

He has also taught a number of graduate classes, including the master's and dissertation seminars, and classes on stratification and work

Selected Publications

Recent Pieces 

Disciplines, Journals & Citations 

Work & Family, Working Time

Gender Segregation

Gender and Education

Women, Health & Medicine

Labor Markets, Careers and Career Mobility

Intermarriage and Remarriage

Prestige and Esteem

Open Access Repository Publications  

 The Delmar Hotel and the Catskill Mountains

Journals, Special Issues

The American Sociological Review

The Academic Job Market in Sociology: The ASA Job Bank

2006, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011-12

CV (file)