Dan Hirschman

Assistant Professor

Dan Hirschman is an Assistant Professor of Sociology at Cornell. He is interested in the role of experts, expertise, and numbers in political and economic life. His research has focused on debates over race and merit in undergraduate admissions, the regulation of financial innovation, and the politics of inequality knowledge. He uses primarily historical methods, though much of his work is collaborative and includes collaborations with scholars who use quantitative, interview, and ethnographic methods.


  • Economic sociology;
  • organizations;
  • race & racism;
  • social theory;
  • science studies;
  • higher education;
  • climate change;
  • finance

Current Research Interests

I am currently completing a book tentatively titled Unequal Knowledge: The Stylized Facts of Inequality which looks at the history of the gender wage gap, the racial wealth gap, and the rise of the “1%” to understand the relationships between inequality research and the politics of gender, race, and class in the United States.

I have also begun a new project on “the costs of climate change.” In this project, I am interested in how experts (economists, engineers, insurance companies, etc.) try to predict costs associated with mitigating – or not mitigating – greenhouse gas emissions, and how those predictions affect the politics of climate change.

Selected Publications & Presentations

  • Krippner, Greta and Daniel Hirschman. 2022. “The Person of the Category: The Pricing of Risk and the Politics of Classification in Insurance and Credit.” Theory & Society, 51(5): 685–727.
  • Hirschman, Daniel. 2021. “Rediscovering the 1%: Knowledge Infrastructures and the Stylized Facts of Inequality.” American Journal of Sociology, 127(3): 739-786.
  • kehal, prabhdeep, Daniel Hirschman, and Ellen Berrey. 2021. “When Affirmative Action Disappears: Unexpected Patterns in Student Enrollments at Selective U.S. Institutions, 1990-2016.” Sociology of Race and Ethnicity, 7(4):543-560.
  • Hirschman, Daniel and Laura Garbes. 2021. “Toward an Economic Sociology of Race.” Socio-Economic Review, 19(3):1171-1199.
  • Hirschman, Daniel. 2021. “Transitional Temporality.” Sociological Theory, 39(1):48-58.
  • Hirschman, Daniel and Emily Adlin Bosk. 2020. “Standardizing Biases: Selection Devices and the Quantification of Race.” Sociology of Race and Ethnicity, 6(3):348-64.
  • Hirschman, Daniel and Ellen Berrey. 2017. “The Partial Deinstitutionalization of Affirmative Action in U.S. Higher Education, 1988-2014.” Sociological Science, 4: 449-468.
  • Funk, Russell and Daniel Hirschman. 2017. “Beyond Nonmarket Strategy: Market Actions as Corporate Political Activity.” Academy of Management Review, 42: 32-52.
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“[T]he challenge is to specify and explicate the social mechanisms determining the relationship between the informal social organization of close-knit groups and the formal rules of institutional structures.”— Victor Nee