Lauren A. Rivera

  • Northwestern University

Lauren Rivera is Associate Professor of Management & Organizations at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management. Her research investigates how people evaluate merit and social status in real-life, organizational contexts. She has written extensively on hiring and promotion practices in elite professional services firms. Rivera’s work has been featured in the Atlantic, Economist, Financial Times, Forbes, Fortune, Huffington Post, New Yorker, New York Times, and Wall Street Journal. A cultural sociologist by training, her work draws from both qualitative and quantitative techniques and bridges micro- and macro-levels of analysis. Her recent book Pedigree: How Elite Students Get Elite Jobs (Princeton University Press, 2015) challenges the long-held American belief that upward mobility is possible for anyone who is willing to work hard, regardless of their social status. Rivera’s research shows that, on the contrary, it is often those from affluent backgrounds who land the best jobs. She examines who really gets hired for the nation’s highest-paying entry-level jobs, who doesn’t, and why. Rivera received her B.A. in psychology and sociology from Yale and her Ph.D. in sociology from Harvard.