Lotta Stern. Foto: Niklas Björling/Stockholms universitet.

Lotta Stern

Professor of Sociology

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Works at Department of Sociology
Visiting address Universitetsvägen 10 B, plan 9
Room B 928
Postal address Sociologiska institutionen 106 91 Stockholm

About me

Charlotta Stern was promoted Professor of Sociology specialized in work and organizations in 2019. She was the deputy head of department until October 2019. She also held a position as pedagogical ambassadeur at CEUL during the year, and organized Departmental pedagogical lunchbreaks as well as Faculty meetings. In the fall semester, she was a member of a cross disciplinary group of SU-faculty who evalutated ten different educations at Stockholm university, as part of the SU internal quality evaluation system. Since october, she is coordinating the PAO-program that the department hosts. During the spring semester, she organized the PAO-group advising with Linda Weidenstedt, Tina Forsberg and Petter Bengtsson and was  the main supervisor of three bachelor theses from that group. Starting in the fall of 2019, she is teaching Sociology as Science in the first year sociology program, together with Magnus Nermo. Stern's research mainly concern the Swedish labor market, and her research activities are part of the Ratio institute's Labor market program of which she is the PI. There, she has published a report on "Co-worker agreements" (in Swedish), and also edited a book titled En dynamisk arbetsmarknadpublished by Dialogos förlag. She guest lectured for "Korta vägen" about the Swedish labor market. With regard to outreach, Stern was unusually active in 2019. She was on a panel with Lars Calmfors at SKL's conference on "Framtidens lönebildning" and part of another panel at DI's "Strategisk HR"-conference. She commented on the report "Vad är grejen med facket" released by Futurion, TCO's thinktank and also did a podcast with them on the same topic. 


Her research deals mostly with labour market issues. In 2018, she continued her research collaboration with Erik Bihagen (SOFI) and Magnus Nermo in their project on elites in the labour market (funded by Forte). The project resulted in a book called "Eliter i Sverige" (Elites in Sweden). 

In 2017, she started up a labour market research project at Ratio dealing with employment protection legislation (LAS), aiming to understand why employers find the legislation troublesome. 


A selection from Stockholm University publication database
  • 2017. Erik Bihagen (et al.). Acta Sociologica 60 (4), 291-308

    Using Swedish registry data, we study the chances of mobility into the Swedish labour market elite for men who graduated in the years 1985-2005. The elite is defined as top earners within mid- and large sized firms and within the public sector organisations (henceforth, we use organisation for both firms and public organisations). Using discrete time event history models, we study the incidence of elite entry in terms of external recruitment and internal promotion. The choice of field of study and of college or university are important, as are personality and, to a limited extent, cognitive ability. What is most striking is that having kin in elite positions increases the chance of elite entry in general, and having parents in top positions in the same organisation increases the likelihood of internal promotion. In sum, elite entry among college-educated males is associated with a diversity of factors, suggesting that complex explanations for labour market success should be considered, where skills, personality, and family ties all seem to matter.

  • 2016. Charlotta Stern. Econ Journal Watch 13 (3), 452-466

    In my experience as a sociologist, I see many ways in which gender sociology tends to insulate itself from challenges to its own sacred beliefs and sacred causes. The sacred beliefs are to the effect that the biological differences between the sexes are minor and that the cultural differences between the genders have little basis in biological differences. The scholarly findings that challenge the sacred beliefs come from anthropology, developmental psychology, evolutionary psychology, the neurosciences, genetics, biology, and many other fields. For many decades now researchers have amassed findings of differences in competitiveness, aggression, sexual interest, risk behavior, and many other traits, and differences in brain physiology and neuroimaging, by many different methods and approaches. I investigated a sample of top cited gender sociology papers to test my impression, and indeed the findings illustrate extreme insularity. It saddens me to see students and scholars fall into insular communities of highly dubious sacred beliefs and causes. I propose that gender sociologists strive to undo insularity.

  • 2014. Erik Bihagen, Magnus Nermo, Charlotta Stern. Acta Sociologica 57 (2), 119-133

    Using unique Swedish register data on all employees in large private companies, we study trends in the gender composition of top wage employees from 1993 to 2007. The analyses reveal that the likelihood of women holding top wage positions has more than doubled since the early 1990s, but men are still markedly over-represented in this group of employees. We focus on educational choices, considering level and field of study as well as university attended. One important conclusion is that, although education is important in reaching a top wage position, field of education and university attended only marginally explain the gender  gap. However, relative to other women, having a career signalling degree (i.e. economics, law or engineering) from a more prestigious university helps women. Dividing the sample into different cohorts indicates that the gender gap is partly a cohort effect, i.e. it is smaller among those born in the 1960s compared to cohorts born in the 1940s and 1950s. It should be noted that there is still a gender gap among employees born in the 1960s and that the gap widens after age 30. Future studies should focus more deeply on this family-related ‘period of divergence’.

  • 2015. Jarret T. Crawford (et al.). Behavioral and Brain Sciences 38

    In our target article, we made four claims: (1) Social psychology is now politically homogeneous; (2) this homogeneity sometimes harms the science; (3) increasing political diversity would reduce this damage; and (4) some portion of the homogeneity is due to a hostile climate and outright discrimination against non-liberals. In this response, we review these claims in light of the arguments made by a diverse group of commentators. We were surprised to find near-universal agreement with our first two claims, and we note that few challenged our fourth claim. Most of the disagreements came in response to our claim that increasing political diversity would be beneficial. We agree with our critics that increasing political diversity may be harder than we had thought, but we explain why we still believe that it is possible and desirable to do so. We conclude with a revised list of 12 recommendations for improving political diversity in social psychology, as well as in other areas of the academy.

Show all publications by Lotta Stern at Stockholm University

Last updated: October 21, 2020

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