Jerry A. Jacobs, Ph.D.

Jerry A. Jacobs

Professor of Sociology


365 McNeil
jjacobs at

This site is in the process of being edited and revised. Please bear with me. 


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 acaemic 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

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 2019 American Sociological Association meetings in New York. A version of this lecture was presented in the Gompers Room athe the AFL-CIO Headquarters in Washington DC on June 14, 2018. This presentation was sponsored by the Institute for women's Policy Research, the J. P. Morgan Chase Foundation and the Mack Institute for Innovation Management at the Wharton Schoool. A podcase of Jacobs' lecture can be found by clicking here on the IWPR website. in 2017, Jacobs was a Keynote Speaker at the WORK2017 Conference in Turku, Finland, His presentation was entitled "Using History to inform the Future of Work." Jacobs has taught Industrial Relations and Human Resource Management in the Wharton School and several classes on technology and the future of work which have drawn students from the Wharton School as well as Penn's School of Arts and Sciences. 

Work and Family News

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

The next Work and Family Researchers Network (WFRN) will be held in June 2022 in New York City. The latest call for papers can be found at the WFRN website.

Research conducted by Jerry A. Jacobs and Kathleen Gerson was the subject of a New York Times article on December 10, 2015. Claire Cain Miller, who writes the "Modern Families" column for the Times, focused her article on Jacobs and Gerson's research on changing attitudes toward the employment of mothers and fathers of young children.

Jerry A. Jacobs appeared on Radio Times with Marty Moss-Coane on Monday, December 22, 2014, as part of a discussion of men's and women's labor force participation. Radio Times is a regular feature on WHYY, the Philadelphia affiliate of National Public Radio.

Jerry A. Jacobs was quoted in an August 11, 2014 story in Time Magazine that critically assess popular advice on work-family issues.

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.

The Work and Family Researchers Network (WFRN) is holding its third biennial meeting in Washington DC on June 22-25, 2016. Jerry A. Jacobs helped to plan the meetings, in his roles as Executive Officer of WFRN and as a member of the 2016 WFRN Program Committee. The meetings were very successful, building on the momentum created at the 2012 and 2014 meeting. Over 700 participants from 42 countries are expected to participate. New features of the 2016 include a Congressional Briefing, "Congressional Education Policy Day," and a newly reworked "Practitioner Day."

Interdisciplinarity and Journal News

Jerry A. Jacobs has lectured on interdisciplinarity in Germany (in 2016) at the University of Kassel and at Hamburg University. In March, 2018, he delivered a presentation on "Specialization in Biomedical Research" at the Centre Alexandre Koyre in Paris France. A paper on this topic has been completed and will be included in a conference proceeding volume.

Jacobs' study of international representation in leading US journals in sociology and related social-science fields has been presented at the American Sociological Association meetings and has been submitted for publication.

Jacobs' paper on the ranking of 140 sociology journals has been published in The American Sociologist.

Jerry A. Jacob's book, In Defense of Disciplines has been featured in five "Author Meets Critics" sessions: at the American Sociological Association Meetings (August 2015, Chicago), the Southern Sociological Society Meetings (March 2015, New Orleans), the Social Science History Association Meetings (November 2014, Toronto), the Association for Integrative Studies Meetings at Michigan State University (October 2014), and the Eastern Sociological Society Meetings (February 2014, Baltimore).

The Chronicle of Higher Education featured an essay by Jerry A. Jacobs entitled “Why the Disciplines Still Matter” in its “Commentary” section on May 27, 2014.

More News


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)