Lab Members

Where They are Today

Including Retrospective Remarks

(lab members listed alphabetically)

Yang Cao

Yang Cao

PhD 2000

Yang Cao received his PhD in sociology at Cornell University in 2000. Since then, he has taught at Louisiana State University, University of North Carolina at Charlotte, and Zhejiang University of China. His research focuses on how market transition reshapes society and culture in contemporary China. His work has appeared in leading academic journals. He is currently the co-editor in chief of Social Science Research.

“I wholeheartedly agree with everything Banoo said and could not have said it better. If there is a plan for a festschrift, please keep me posted. I’d love to contribute in any way I can.”

Daniel DellaPosta

Daniel DellaPosta

PhD 2017, Associate Professor of Sociology and Social Data Analytics at Penn State University

Daniel DellaPosta (2017 Ph.D.) is an Associate Professor of Sociology and Social Data Analytics at Pennsylvania State University. He studies network dynamics in political, economic, and organizational contexts, focusing especially on how networks shape—and are shaped by— social expectations, norms, and attitudes. DellaPosta’s research has been published in the American Sociological Review, American Journal of Sociology, Social Forces, Social Networks, Organization Science, and other outlets. His research has also received awards from the American Sociological Association’s sections on Sociology of Culture, Mathematical Sociology, Economic Sociology, and Rationality and Society, as well as the Academy of Management’s division on Organization and Management Theory.

“I’m extremely grateful for the excellent training that I received as part of the Lab.”

Lucas Drouhot

Lucas Drouhot

PhD 2018, Associate Professor of Sociology, University of Utrecht, the Netherlands

Lucas Drouhot is a sociologist and currently an Assistant Professor at Utrecht University. Previously, he was a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Max Planck Institute for the Study of Religious and Ethnic Diversity. He obtained a Ph.D in sociology from Cornell University in 2018. His research interests are in the study of international migration, social stratification, and social networks. His ongoing research focuses on understanding the processes and mechanisms shaping assimilation among the children of immigrants in Western societies. Lucas is currently engaged in empirical work investigating three analytical domains of integration and their interrelation: socioeconomic attainment and intergenerational mobility; intergroup ties and diversification in social networks; as well as cultural difference, belonging and the assignment of worth to minority others. To date, his work has been published in the American Journal of Sociology, the Annual Review of Sociology, the International Migration Review, the Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, Social Networks and Ethnic and Racial Studies among other outlets. Published manuscripts, an up-to-date CV and more information on his research can be found on his personal website.

“I always talk fondly about our Lab meetings to colleagues. I genuinely think these meetings were a crucial part of my Cornell training, allowing us to learn through the collective discussion of published research as well as research in progress. In Utrecht I have been progressively establishing a research group with my colleague Frank van Tubergen and we have monthly meetings in which we discuss papers and work in progress among ourselves, postdocs and Ph.D students. In my mind, I wanted to follow the example of the Lab, because it was so useful in understanding the craft of social science better. So your Lab lives on in spirit among those you’ve influenced…I look forward to catching up in Ithaca. I will write once the date gets closer.”

Scott Golder

Scott Golder

PhD 2017, Senior Director, Data Scientist at Capital One



“Hi, Victor, how great to hear from you! It’s indeed great to see more and more social scientists working in industry in some capacity.  A lot of the questions we ask are indeed behavioral problems that are amenable to analysis using quantitative social science methods, even if they are quite mundane (such as, if we change how prominent X is on an ecommerce site, what is the effect on sales?) or, more frequently, things we cannot evaluate through controlled RCTs, and so I would actually be interested in attracting more econometricians and others interested in causal methods for analysis of observational data. Perhaps someday I’ll find the time to write something.”

Hilary Hobrow

Hilary Holbrow

PhD 2017, Assistant Professor of Japanese Politics and Society, Indiana University Bloomington

Hilary J. Holbrow is Assistant Professor of Japanese Politics and Society in the East Asian Languages and Cultures Department at Indiana University. Her scholarship examines social and economic inequality, work and organizations, immigration, and the intersections of gender, race, and ethnicity. She is an International Research Fellow at the Canon Institute for Global Studies in Tokyo, an Associate in Research at Harvard’s Reischauer Institute, and a member of the US-Japan Network for the Future.

“The lab was the place where I learned many tools of the academic trade, including how to compellingly frame a research question, how to engage with audiences with varied topical interests and disciplinary backgrounds, how to productively engage in and respond to peer review. The lab also highlighted for me the importance of community and collaboration in scholarly endeavors. These tools have proven invaluable to me both as a researcher and as mentor and advisor to graduate and undergraduate students.”

Paul Ingram

Paul Ingram

PhD 1994, Kravis Professor of Business at the Columbia Business School

Paul Ingram is the Kravis Professor of Business at the Columbia Business School. He has received Columbia’s highest recognition for teaching, the Presidential Award for Excellence in Teaching, as well as the Dean’s Award for Teaching Excellence, and thirteen teaching awards voted by graduating students at Columbia and Cornell Universities. His PhD is from Cornell University, and he was on the faculty of Carnegie Mellon University before coming to Columbia. He has held visiting professorships at Tel Aviv University, Shanghai Jiao Tong University and the University of Toronto.

His research has been published in more than seventy articles, book chapters and books. His publications have received numerous distinctions, including the Gould Prize from the American Journal of Sociology, and best paper awards in the areas of Strategy, Organization and Management Theory, and Collective Behavior and Social Movements. Ingram’s current research examines the intersection between culture and social networks.

He has served as President of the College of Organization Science of the Institute for Operations Research and Management Science (INFORMS). He has also served as an Associate Editor for Academy of Management Discoveries, a consulting editor for the American Journal of Sociology, a senior editor for Organization Science, an Associate Editor forManagement Science and on the editorial boards of Administrative Science Quarterly and Strategic Organization.

Paul’s undergraduate degree is from Brock University where received the Governor General’s Award as the top graduating student. In 2004 he received the Distinguished Graduate Award from Brock’s Faculty of Business. He has consulted on issues of leadership, organizational design and strategy to leading companies in the finance, health care, insurance, energy, arts, legal, education, and consumer products industries.

“Victor, very nice to hear from you.  You understate the impact of our collaboration for me; I think if not for encountering you in a 2nd year class, I might not be a PhD today.  With certainty I would be a different and lesser one.”

Lisa Keister

Lisa Keister

PhD 1997, Professor of Sociology and Public Policy at Duke University

Lisa A. Keister is professor of sociology and public policy at Duke University and an affiliate of the Duke Network Analysis Center and the Duke Population Research Initiative. Her current research focuses on organization strategy, elite households, the processes that explain extremes in wealth and income inequality, and on group differences in the intergenerational transfer of assets. She has been focusing on the causes and consequences of net worth poverty recently with colleagues from the Sanford school and is currently completing two books: one on America’s wealthiest families, the one percent, and one on net worth poverty.

“Hi Victor! What a delightful email – it made my day. Congratulations on all you have done, including operating this Center for so many years!”

Qi Li

Qi Li

PhD 2018, Assistant Professor, Chinese University of Hong Kong, Shenzhen

Qi Li is Assistant Professor at The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Shenzhen. Her research focuses on innovation management, strategy, and commercialization of high technology, such as in the artificial intelligence industry. She is particularly interested in platform dynamics, networks, sustainability, organizational management, and breakthrough innovation.

She is recipient of the CUHK-Shenzhen University Development Fund, the CUHK-Shenzhen SME Tier 1 Research Fund Award, and the Kwok Leung Memorial Dissertation Fund Award, and she was named an IACMR best reviewer. Her work has appeared in such publications as Academy of Management Journal, Academy of Management Proceedings, and Stanford Social Innovation Review. In 2022, she was named “Top 50 Undergraduate Business Professor” by Poets & Quants.

Previously, Qi was a research assistant to the director of the Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation at Harvard Kennedy School and was an entrepreneur in China, launching a successful education venture.

Lishia Liu

Lisha Liu

PhD 2021, Assistant Professor of Organization, Antai School of Business, Jiaotung University, Shanghai

Lisha Liu studies economic sociology, organization theory, and social networks. Her research focuses on how organizations shape and are shaped by their environment, including the surrounding interorganizational networks and broader institutional environment. Her work has been published in Socio-Economic Review and Sociological Science. Her research has won a number of awards, including the Best Paper Award for the Social Responsibility Division from the 2019 Administrative Sciences Association of Canada, an Early Career Workshop Award from Society for the Advancement of Socio-Economics, and Robert B. McGinnis Paper Award from Cornell University.

“The Lab was one of the most important parts of my training at Cornell, allowing us to steadily push forward projects and learn from each other. You have done so much for the field over the years with the Lab.”

Mario Molina

Mario Molina

PhD 2019, Assistant Professor, New York University, Abu Dhabi

Mario is a Postdoctoral Associate in the Social Science Division at New York University Abu Dhabi and will start as an Assistant Professor at NYU-AD in the Fall of 2024.

His research lies at the interface of economic sociology, organizations, and computational social science. He broadly considers how organizational structures and network dynamics impact beliefs about unequal rewards and prosocial behaviors and the mechanisms that feedback to sustain or disrupt these social systems. He has studied these processes across multiple domains, including reward systems, status hierarchies, social norms, and cultural diversity.

“The CSES at Cornell provided us with multiple chances to learn new things and expand our research. The weekly lab meetings, the many invited speakers over the year, the small grants, the workshop and conferences organized by the Lab were all tremendously valuable opportunities that made a difference in the way that I approach my academic work.”

Banoo Parpia

Banoo Parpia

PhD 1995, Senior Research Associate in the Department of Nutritional Sciences at Cornell University

As Senior Research Associate in the Department of Nutritional Sciences at Cornell University, Banoo Parpia worked closely with Professor Colin Campbell, Sir Richard Peto, Chen Junshi and many distinguished colleagues in China as the chief coordinator on the “China Project” a landmark survey of rural China. In close collaboration with Professor Victor Nee in the Department of Sociology the survey included a large array of socioeconomic variables and provided a rich database for analyses by members of the Economic Sociology Lab. Banoo completed her PhD under the direction and mentorship of Professor Nee on the “Socioeconomic Determinants of Food and Nutrient Intakes in Rural China” in 1995. Subsequently she continued to collaborate with colleagues in China by lending her expertise on data analyses and research methods in over 60 key publications in the field during her brief tenure in the position. In 2008 Banoo held an administrative position in central Alumni Affairs and Development at Cornell University as Director of International Development for Asia and recently retired in 2020.

“The Lab was a recognized and invaluable incubator of important pioneering work in the field and as we all know, launched and generated key new directions, approaches and ideas in Economic Sociology. I for one, feel privileged and fortunate to have been part of this effort. Hope we can commemorate and celebrate this together not only on the new website but at a festschrift for your work in the near future.”

Michael Siemon

Michael Siemon

PhD 2018, Data Scientist,, Santa Clara, California

After finishing his dissertation in 2018 on how interorganizational networks structure financial markets, Michael was hired by a small consulting firm in Santa Clara, CA specializing in using network methods to extract valuable information from complex data sets. There he gained working knowledge of the telecommunications industry consulting for Ericsson on a fault detection and prediction project. In 2020, he was hired on to work as a member of the computer vision team at GAIA, Ericsson’s Global AI Accelerator. He quickly learned that training neural networks is only the beginning of useful computer vision applications and never misses a chance to use network algorithms to solve a problem. Most recently, he has led a project that uses drone images and 3D models to automatically generate data for making digital twins of cell sites.


Sijin Su

Core Course Professor, School of Business, Ease China University of Science & Technology, Shanghai



“From my Ph.D study in Economic Sociology at Cornell and later career I have benefited enormously from the Lab as it is truly an incubator providing thorough training in theory construction linked  to empirical research that focuses on comprehensiveness, solidness, in-depth, and fact-finding, and it is also a very active innovation center in inspiring ideas,approaches,interdisciplinary communications and collaborations. Many published articles based on the Lab research on Chinese studies were well-received in China, and I have heard the readers in China commenting on one of the recent studies from the Lab. The book, “Capitalism from Below: Markets and Institutional Change in China,” was indeed ‘insightful,’ ‘meaningful,’ ‘solid’ in theory. In the various articles on China’s market transition published over more than two decades, the readers can still find a ‘freshness’ in catching the realities and dynamics of Chinese economy and society.”

Aknout Van De Rijt

Arnout Van De Rijt

PhD 2007, Professor of Sociology, European University Institute, Florence, Italy

My research focuses on cumulative advantage, a.k.a. the Matthew effect or success-breeds-success, in the production of social inequality. As a CSES graduate student I worked on my first Matthew effect paper in an application to immigrant assimilation. The paper was a disaster, it was poorly situated in the literature as repeatedly pointed out by Victor Nee and Michael Macy, no reviewer liked it, and after a dozen trips to Canada for secure data analysis and a tremendous amount of patience from Victor to whom I was probably the least productive RA in years, it still took nearly a decade to publish. But in the production of this failure, along the way, in the free and inspiring discussions I had with my advisors and the room they gave me to be creative, to try and err, I built a foundation for an unorthodox career in our discipline, in which I continue to pursue big and often bad but sometimes great ideas. Wherever I have worked since, at Stony Brook, later Utrecht, and now the European University Institute, I have aimed to encourage my students to be unconventional and do research that is exciting, that evokes a thrill.

Sirui Wang

Sirui Wang

Research Scientist, McKinsey & Company

Sirui is a research scientist at McKinsey & Company working in talent sourcing, retention, workforce planning, and organization structure. He led the research modeling on the 2022 McKinsey Global Institute report on human capital. He holds a Ph.D. in Managerial Science and Applied Economics from The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania, where his research focused on the economics of knowledge and management of IT skilled labor. Sirui also holds a M.S. in Statistics from The University of Chicago and a B.A. in Mathematics from Cornell University. His research has been published in Social Science Research and has been featured at the Academy of Management, Conference on Information Systems and Technology, Workshop on Information Systems and Economics, and the Open and User Innovation Conference.

“I am so grateful to be a part of the Lab throughout my research career, as a graduate student collaborator and as an undergraduate research assistant prior. Our collaboration has certainly motivated much of my own research interests over the years. Excited to see all the work forthcoming at CSES!”

Chris Yenkey

Chris Yenkey

PhD 2011, Associate Professor, University of South Carolina, Business School

Chris Yenkey is an associate professor in the Sonoco International Business Department at the Univ. of South Carolina Darla Moore School of Business and a core faculty member of USC’s Rule of Law Collaborative. Prior to joining the Moore School in 2016, Prof. Yenkey was an assistant professor of organizations and markets at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business from 2011-2016, where he was the John E. Jueck Faculty Fellow from 2015-2016 and held courtesy appointments in the departments of Sociology and African Studies. Prof. Yenkey earned his Ph.D. in Sociology at Cornell University in 2011. His dissertation studied the effects of interethnic conflict on the development of Kenya’s nascent stock market. His job market paper received multiple best paper prizes from the American Sociological Association and the Academy of Management and later the 2018 Mark Granovetter Prize for Best Paper in Economic Sociology from the ASA. Prof. Yenkey currently has two primary streams of research, one focusing on the consequences of organizational misconduct and the other on bottom-up anti-corruption interventions that empower citizens in corruption-plagued settings to overcome impediments to collective action.

“Your leadership at CSES has been foundational for the field. I first found economic sociology when a simple Google search while I was an RA at the Federal Reserve introduced me to the CSES. The Center and the lab were foundational to my dissertation research which produced three best dissertation prizes and eventually the Granovetter Prize from the Economic Sociology Section of the ASA.”

citation engraving
“Actors do not behave or decide as atoms outside a social context ... Their attempts at purposive action are instead embedded in concrete, ongoing systems of social relations.”— Mark Granovetter