Juliet Schor

Juliet B. Schor (born 1955) is a Sociology Professor at Boston College.[1] She has studied trends in working time, consumerism, the relationship between work and family, women's issues and economic inequality, and concerns about climate change in the environment.[2] From 2010 to 2017, she studied the sharing economy under a large research project funded by the MacArthur Foundation.[3][4]

Academic career


Schor received a B.A. in Economics from Wesleyan University in 1975, and a Ph.D in economics from the University of Massachusetts Amherst in 1982.


Juliet Schor taught at numerous institutions around the country. Namely, she was an assistant professor of Economics at Williams College and Columbia University[5]. In 1984, she joined the Department of Economics at Harvard University and throughout her 17 years teaching there, she rose from assistant professor to eventually a senior lecturer in the Department of Economics and the Committee on Degrees in Women's Studies[5]. In 2014-15, she was the Matina S. Horner Distinguished Visiting Professor at the Radcliffe Institute at Harvard[5].

Currently, she is a Professor of Sociology at Boston College. She joined in 2001 and was department chair from 2005-2008 and director of graduate studies from 2001-2013[5].

Board Memberships

In 1977, Schor was one of several founders and editors of South End Press. Additionally, in 1978 she was a founding member of the Center for Popular Economics[5].

Currently, Schor is on the Board of Directors of Better Future Project and the Chair of US Right to Know and she is on the advisory board of the Center for a New American Dream[5].

She is also presently on the editorial boards of Sustainability: Science, Practice, and Policy (SSPP), Journal of Consumer Policy, and Reviews in Ecological Economics just to name a few[5].


Schor has also has made multiple appearances. Namely of those is her appearance in 2017 on The People vs. American, Al-Jazeera multipart series which was awarded a Gold World Medal at the New York Festival for Film and TV[5]. In addition, Schor has given many talks at various institutions and conferences all around the world as well.

Personal life

Juliet was born on November 9, 1955[5]. Schor grew up in California, Pennsylvania where her father developed the first specialty health clinic for miners in a small Pennsylvania mining town. As she grew up she gained a stronger sense of class difference and labor exploitation. She also found herself reading Marx at a young age.[6] She currently resides in Newton, MA. She has two children, Krishna and Sulakshana. Her husband, Prasannan Parthasarathi, is also a professor at Boston College.[7]

Academic Work

Early Thought

While obtaining her Ph.D in economics from the University of Massachusetts Amherst, Schor began to explore the relationship between how employers controlled and regulated employees[6]. Her and her advisor, Sam Bowles, called these variable of conditions “the cost of job loss” which included how long a person can expect to be unemployed and what kind of social welfare benefits they are eligible for as an unemployed individual[6].

While a professor at Harvard, Schor was interested in another determinant of “the cost of job loss,” which was the number of hours worked by the employee[6]. By analyzing various data, she found that even though an employee works overtime, they seem to have no money saved at the end. This led to her question “What do workers do with the money they earn and why is it so hard for them to save money” which required the investigation of social pressures on spending and consumer culture[6].

In an interview discussing her book Plentitude: The New Economics of True Wealth she says, "When people work too many hours they tend to feel deprived and they use consumption to reward themselves, whether that be for an expensive vacation, kitchen remodel or a bigger diamond. The downturn has actually opened up space for people to think about different trajectories for their consumption expectations over their lifetimes.”[6][8]

In addition, at an early age, Schor strived to make her work accessible to all. In an interview with Peter Shea, she talks about her early intellectual formation, her critique of conventional economics, and her decision to write for an audience that includes the general public as well as her colleagues in the academy[2].

Best-Seller Books

The Overworked American: The Unexpected Decline of Leisure, Basic Books (1992)

By using household survey data on hours of paid work and one’s time use, Schor discovered that average time spent at work increased around 1 month per year between the years of 1969 and 1987. Further, in the book, Schor discuss a model she developed to predict hours of unpaid work in the home.

The Overspent American: Why We Want What We Don’t Need (1999)

In this book, Schor explores the social and cultural processes that drive individuals to spending and eventually debt. She analyzes that consumers are spending more than they did in the past. As a result, she observes that saving rates have been on a decline. Schor sights that one of the reasons for this change over time is our view in the “keeping up” process of spending which has led to overspending.

Born to Buy: The Commercialized Child and the New Consumer Culture (2005)

Many companies have targeted marketing products towards children and in turn, have made them into “commercialized children.” Schor looks at how advertising strategies convince kids that products are necessary to their social survival and this is adopted into their mindsets for their future as well. Schor also provides a sort of optimism at the end, advising parents and teachers on how to deal with this problem.



  • The Overworked American: The Unexpected Decline of Leisure, Basic Books (1992)[9]
  • Sustainable Economy for the 21st Century, (1995, 1999)[10]
  • The Overspent American: Why We Want What We Don't Need, (1999)
  • Born to Buy: The Commercialized Child and the New Consumer Culture, (2005)
  • Plenitude: The New Economics of True Wealth, Penguin Press (2010)[2]
  • Toward a Plenitude Economy (2015)

As co-editor or co-author:

  • The Golden Age of Capitalism: Reinterpreting the Postwar Experience, (1992)
  • Do Americans Shop too Much?, (2000)
  • The Consumer Society Reader, (2000)
  • Sustainable Planet: Solutions for the 21st Century, (2003)

Journal Articles:

  • "The Sharing Economy: labor, inequality and sociability on for-profit platforms" (Societal Transitions, 2017)
  • Complicating Conventionalization" (Journal of Marketing Management, 2017)
  • "Does the Sharing Economy Increase Inequality Within the Eighty Percent?: Findings from a Qualitative Study of Platform Providers" (2017, Cambridge Journal of Regions, Economy and Society)
  • "Paradoxes of Openness and Distinction in the Sharing Economy" (2016, Poetics)
  • "Climate Discourse and Economic Downturns: The case of the United States 2008-2013" (2014, Environmental Innovation and Societal Transitions)

Awards and accomplishments


  • Humanist of the Year, Boston Ethical Community (2016)
  • Radcliffe Institute Fellow (2014-15)
  • ASA Public Understanding of Sociology Award (2014)
  • Graduate Student Teaching and Mentoring Award, Graduate School or Arts and Sciences, Boston College (2014)
  • Carpenter Award, Economics Division, Babson College (2013)
  • Herman Daly Award from the US Society for Ecological Economics (2011)
  • Senior Fellow, Center for Humans and Nature (2011)
  • Leontief Prize for Expanding the Frontiers of Economic Thought, Global Development and Environment Institute, Tufts University (2006)


  • Research Council of Norway, 2017-2020 for project on The Sharing Economy
  • MacArthur Foundation 2014-2017, for project on Connected Economies
  • Compton, Garfield, Johnson Foundation 2013-2014, for Summer Institute in New Economics



  1. "Debating the Sharing Economy". Great Transition Initiative. Retrieved 9 April 2015.
  2. "Julie Schor". Institute for Advanced Study. Archived from the original on 19 December 2013. Retrieved 9 April 2015.
  3. "Juliet Schor: On the Connected Economy and Carbon Emissions". www.bc.edu. Retrieved 2017-12-14.
  4. "Juliet Schor - Connected Learning Research Network". Connected Learning Research Network. Retrieved 2017-12-14.
  5. "Juliet Schor". Boston College.
  6. "Juliet Schor". Capital Institute.
  7. Gershon, Livia (1/27/16). "The Road to Utopia: A Conversation with Juliet Schor". JSTOR Daily. Check date values in: |date= (help)
  8. "Juliet Schor". Capital Institute.
  9. Stead, Deborah. "Prosperous Referents and 'The Overspent American'". New York Times. Retrieved 9 April 2015.
  10. "A Sustainable Economy for the 21st Century". www.goodreads.com.
  11. "Advisory Board". Center for a New American Dream. Retrieved 9 April 2015.
  12. "Reflections on popular-economics-an-interview-with Juliet Schor". Center for Popular Economics. Retrieved 9 April 2015.
  13. https://www.bc.edu/content/dam/bc1/schools/mcas/sociology/pdf/CV/SchorCV.pdf
  14. https://www.asanet.org/news-and-events/member-awards/public-understanding-sociology-asa-award/juliet-b-schor
  15. Schor, Juliet. The Overworked American : The Unexpected Decline of Leisure Juliet B Schor. Basic Books, 1991. EBSCOhost, search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=cat06787a&AN=chc.b1303773&site=eds-live&scope=site.
  16. chor, Juliet. The Overspent American : Upscaling, Downshifting, and the New Consumer Juliet B Schor. Basic Books, 1998. EBSCOhost, search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=cat06787a&AN=chc.b1386077&site=eds-live&scope=site.

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