In his research, Joseph Merry primarily investigates class-based and racial/ethnic inequalities in education. In particular, previous work examines educational influences from three major areas: the family, schools, and the realm of academic-oriented activities that occur outside of formal schooling, such as private tutoring. Additional lines of research include the association between siblings during childhood and social outcomes in adulthood as well as comparative analyses of attitudes toward economic inequality.
His work has appeared in journals such as Sociology of Education and Journal of Family Issues. His article “Tracing the U.S. Deficit in PISA Reading Skills to Early Childhood: Evidence from the U.S. and Canada” received awards from the American Sociological Association and the American Educational Research Association. He holds a BA degree from John Carroll University and MA and PhD degrees from The Ohio State University. Currently, he teaches courses on social class, education, research methods, and quantitative analysis.