Juliet Schor is Professor of Sociology at Boston College. Schor is also a member of the MacArthur Foundation Connected Learning Research Network. Schor’s research focuses on consumption, time use, and environmental sustainability. A graduate of Wesleyan University, Schor received her Ph.D. in economics at the University of Massachusetts. Before joining Boston College, she taught at Harvard University for 17 years, in the Department of Economics and the Committee on Degrees in Women's Studies. In 2014 Schor received the American Sociological Association’s award for Public Understanding of Sociology.
Schor’s most recent books are Sustainable Lifestyles and the Quest for Plenitude: Case Studies of the New Economy (Yale University Press, 2014) which she co-edited with Craig Thompson, and True Wealth: How and Why Millions of Americans are Creating a Time-Rich, Ecologically Light, Small-Scale, High-Satisfaction Economy (2011 by The Penguin Press, previously published as Plenitude.) As part of her work with the MacArthur Foundation, Schor is currently researching the “connected economy,” via a series of case studies of sharing platforms and their participants. She is also studying the relation between working hours, inequality and carbon emissions.
Schor’s previous books include the national best-seller The Overworked American: The Unexpected Decline of Leisure (Basic Books, 1992) and The Overspent American: Why We Want What We Don’t Need (Basic Books, 1998). The Overworked American appeared on the best-seller lists of The New York Times, Publisher's Weekly, The Chicago Tribune, The Village Voice The Boston Globe as well as the annual best books list for The New York Times, Business Week and other publications. The book is widely credited for influencing the national debate on work and family. The Overspent American was also made into a video of the same name, by the Media Education Foundation (September 2003).
Schor also wrote Born to Buy: The Commercialized Child and the New Consumer Culture (Scribner 2004). She is the author of Do Americans Shop Too Much? (Beacon Press 2000), co-editor of Consumer Society: A Reader (The New Press 2000) and co-editor of Sustainable Planet: Solutions for the Twenty-first Century (Beacon Press 2002). She has also co-edited a number of academic collections. Schor’s scholarly articles have appeared in the Economic Journal, The Review of Economics and Statistics, World Development, Industrial Relations, The Journal of Economic Psychology, Ecological Economics, The Journal of Industrial Ecology, The Journal of Consumer Research, The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Sciences, and The Journal of Consumer Culture, among others.
Schor is a former Guggenheim Fellow and was the Matina S. Horner Distinguished Visiting Professor at the Radcliffe Institute at Harvard University in 2014-15. She is also a former Brookings Institution fellow. She is the recipient of the 2011 Herman Daly Award from the US Society for Ecological Economics. In 2006 she received the Leontief Prize from the Global Development and Economics Institute at Tufts University for expanding the frontiers of economic thought. She has also received the George Orwell Award for Distinguished Contributions to Honesty and Clarity in Public Language from the National Council of Teachers of English. She has served as a consultant to the United Nations, at the World Institute for Development Economics Research, and to the United Nations Development Program. In 2012 Schor organized the first Summer Institute in New Economics, a week-long program for PhD students in the social sciences, and repeated the program in 2013.
Schor is a co-founder of the Center for a New American Dream (newdream.org), a national sustainability organization where she served on the board for more than 15 years. She is the vice chair of the board of the Better Future Project, one of the country’s most successful climate activism organizations. She is a co-founder of the South End Press and the Center for Popular Economics. She has also served as a Trustee of Wesleyan University, and as an occasional faculty member at Schumacher College. Schor has lectured widely throughout the United States, Europe and Japan to a variety of civic, business, labor and academic groups. She appears frequently on national and international media, and profiles on her and her work have appeared in scores of magazines and newspapers, including The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Newsweek, and People magazine. She has appeared on 60 Minutes, the Today Show, Good Morning America, The Early Show on CBS, numerous stories on network news, as well as many other television and radio news programs.
The 2008 economic downturn has undermined economic security for many, bringing in its wake increased levels of unemployment and under-employment—especially for youth—along with reductions in wealth and heightened economic fear and insecurity. Almost simultaneously, public attention to the looming environmental crisis of climate change has accelerated, inspiring everything from “green consumption” to government-led initiatives to combat environmental degradation. A “new economy” conversation has emerged that focuses on visions of resilience and sustainability, in which stronger, more connected communities become the social fabric for an ecologically balanced economy of extra-market and new-market enterprises. The new economy initiatives are oriented to high satisfaction, egalitarian outcomes, low eco-footprints, and enhanced levels of learning. Connected consumption is one part of these visions of resilience and sustainability.
For more information on this project, and to access the articles written on it to date, see our Connected Consumption and Connected Economy Research page.
"Sustainable Lifestyles and the Quest for Plenitude: Case Studies of the New Economy." 2014. eds Juliet B. Schor and Craig J. Thompson (New Haven: Yale University Press).
True Wealth: how and why millions of Americans are creating a time-rich, ecologically-light, small-scale, high-satisfaction economy (paperback version of Plenitude) (Penguin 2011). Video version entitled The New Economics 101: True Wealth in the New Economy, Media Education Foundation. 2013.
“Paradoxes of Openness and Distinction in the Sharing Economy,” 2016, Poetics, (Juliet B. Schor, Connor Fitzmaurice, Lindsey B. Carfagna, and Will Attwood-Charles), forthcoming.
“Domestic Inequality and Carbon Emissions in Comparative Perspective,” 2016, Sociological Forum, 2016. forthcoming (with Andrew Jorgenson, Juliet B. Schor, Kyle Knight and Xiaorui Huang).
“Climate, Inequality and the Need to Reframe Climate Policy,” 2015, Review of Radical Political Economics, 47(4): 525-536 (lead article).
“Climate and Consumption,” in Climate Change and Society: Sociological Perspectives, Riley E. Dunlap and Robert J. Brulle, eds., (New York: Oxford University Press), (with Karen Ehrhardt-Martinez), 2015.
“Collaborating and Connecting: The Emergence of a Sharing Economy,” Handbook on Research on Sustainable Consumption, eds., Lucia Reisch and John Thogersen, (Cheltenham, UK: Edward Elgar), (with Connor Fitzmaurice) 2015.
“Climate Discourse and Economic Downturns: The case of the United States, 2008-2013,” Environmental Innovation and Societal Transitions, 13:6-20, December 2014.
“An emerging eco-habitus: the reconfiguration of high cultural capital practices among ethical consumers,” Journal of Consumer Culture, July 2014. (with Luka Carfagna, Emilie Dubois, Connor Fitzmaurice, Thomas Laidley, Monique Ouimette, and Margaret Willis)
“Could Working Less Reduce Pressures on the Environment?: A Cross-National Panel Analysis of OECD Countries, 1970-2007, Global Environmental Change, 2013. (with Kyle W. Knight and Eugene A. Rosa)
“Does Changing a Light Bulb Lead to Changing the World? Civic Engagement and the Ecologically Conscious Consumer,” The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, 2013 (with Margaret Willis).