Faculty Books

What constitutes a causal explanation, and must an explanation be causal? What warrants a causal inference, as opposed to a descriptive regularity? What techniques are available to detect when causal effects are present, and when can these techniques be used to identify the relative importance of these effects? What complications do the interactions of individuals create for these techniques? When can mixed methods of analysis be used to deepen causal accounts? Must causal claims include generative mechanisms, and how effective are empirical methods designed to discover them? The Handbook of Causal Analysis for Social Research tackles these questions with nineteen chapters from leading scholars in sociology, statistics, public health, computer science, and human development.

Since the 1980s, the world’s governments have decreased state welfare and thus increased the number of unprotected “informal” or “precarious” workers. As a result, more and more workers do not receive secure wages or benefits from either employers or the state. What are these workers doing to improve their livelihoods? Informal Labor, Formal Politics, and Dignified Discontent in India offers a fresh and provocative look into the alternative social movements informal workers in India are launching. It also offers a unique analysis of the conditions under which these movements succeed or fail. Drawing from 300 interviews with informal workers, government officials, and union leaders, Rina Agarwala argues that Indian informal workers are using their power as voters to demand welfare benefits (such as education, housing, and healthcare) from the state, rather than demanding traditional work benefits (such as minimum wages and job security) from employers. In addition, they are organizing at the neighborhood level, rather than the shop floor, and appealing to “citizenship,” rather than labor rights. Agarwala concludes that movements are most successful when operating under parties that compete for mass votes and support economic liberalization (even populist parties), and are least successful when operating under non-competitive electoral contexts (even those tied to communist parties).


As the title suggests, Public and Private Families: An Introduction, seventh edition, discusses the family in two senses: the private family, in which we live most of our personal lives, and the public family, in which we, as adults, deal with broader societal issues such as the care of the frail elderly, the increase in divorce, and childbearing outside of marriage. The book examines intimate personal concerns, such as whether to marry, as well as societal concerns, such as governmental policies that affect families. Distinctive chapters examine contemporary issues such as income assistance to poor families, the effects of out-of-home childcare, and the costs of Social Security and Medicare programs.

A companion reader to this textbook, Public and Private Families: A Reader, seventh edition, with 14 same-named chapters, has 34 readings from both the popular press and academic journals.

The origin of political modernity has long been tied to the Western history of protest and revolution, the currents of which many believe sparked popular dissent worldwide. Reviewing nearly one thousand instances of protest in China from the eighteenth to the early-nineteenth centuries, Ho-fung Hung charts an evolution of Chinese dissent that stands apart from Western trends.

Hung samples from mid-Qing petitions and humble plaints to the emperor. He revisits rallies, riots, market strikes, and other forms of contention rarely considered in previous studies. Drawing on new world history, which accommodates parallels and divergences between political-economic and cultural developments East and West, Hung shows how the centralization of political power and an expanding market, coupled with a persistent Confucianist orthodoxy, shaped protesters’ strategies and appeals in Qing China.

This unique form of mid-Qing protest combined a quest for justice and autonomy with a filial-loyal respect for the imperial center, and Hung’s careful research ties this distinct characteristic to popular protest in China today. As Hung makes clear, the nature of these protests prove late imperial China was anything but a stagnant and tranquil empire before the West cracked it open. In fact, the origins of modern popular politics in China predate the 1911 Revolution. Hung’s work ultimately establishes a framework others can use to compare popular protest among different cultural fabrics. His book fundamentally recasts the evolution of such acts worldwide.

Providing basic foundations for measuring inequality from the perspective of distributional properties

This monograph reviews a set of widely used summary inequality measures, and the lesser known relative distribution method provides the basic rationale behind each measure and discusses their interconnections. It also introduces model-based decomposition of inequality over time using quantile regression. This approach enables researchers to estimate two different contributions to changes in inequality between two time points.

Key Features

  • Clear statistical explanations provide fundamental statistical basis for understanding the new modeling framework
  • Straightforward empirical examples reinforce statistical knowledge and ready-to-use procedures
  • Multiple approaches to assessing inequality are introduced by starting with the basic distributional property and providing connections among approaches

The Marriage-Go-Round illuminates the shifting nature of America’s most cherished social institution and explains its striking differences from marriage in other Western countries.

Andrew J. Cherlin’s three decades of study have shown him that marriage in America is a social and political battlefield in a way that it isn’t in other developed countries. Americans marry and divorce more often and have more live-in partners than Europeans, and gay Americans have more interest in legalizing same-sex marriage. The difference comes from Americans’ embrace of two contradictory cultural ideals: marriage, a formal commitment to share one’s life with another; and individualism, which emphasizes personal choice and self-development. Religion and law in America reinforce both of these behavioral poles, fueling turmoil in our family life and heated debate in our public life. Cherlin’s incisive diagnosis is an important contribution to the debate and points the way to slowing down the partnership merry-go-round.

With one of the world’s fastest-growing economies and a population quickly approaching two billion, China holds substantial sway over global financial, social, and cultural networks. This volume explains China’s economic rise and liberalization and assesses how this growth is reshaping the structure and dynamics of global capitalism in the twenty-first century.

China has historically been the center of Asian trade, economic, and financial networks, and its global influence continues to expand in the twenty-first century. In exploring the causes for and effects of China’s resurging power, this volume takes a broad, long-term view that reaches well beyond economics for answers. Contributors explore the vast web of complex issues raised by China’s ascendancy.

The first three chapters discuss the global and historical origins of China’s shift to a market economy and that transformation’s impact on the international market system. Subsequent essays explore the ability of large Chinese manufacturers to counter the might of transnational retailers, the effect of China’s rise on world income distribution and labor, and the consequences of a stronger China for its two most powerful neighbors, Russia and Japan. The concluding chapter questions whether China’s growth is sustainable and if it will ultimately shift the center of global capitalism from the West to the East.

This cutting-edge collection of works by leading global political economists links current events to long-term trends in global capitalist development to provide a comprehensive analysis of China’s impact on the world. Scholars of China, world systems and globalization, international relations, and political economy will find this assessment worthy of study and an important starting point for further research.

Rise of the Red Engineers explains the tumultuous origins of the class of technocratic officials who rule China today. In a fascinating account, author Joel Andreas chronicles how two mutually hostile groups—the poorly educated peasant revolutionaries who seized power in 1949 and China’s old educated elite—coalesced to form a new dominant class. After dispossessing the country’s propertied classes, Mao and the Communist Party took radical measures to eliminate class distinctions based on education, aggravating antagonisms between the new political and old cultural elites. Ultimately, however, Mao’s attacks on both groups during the Cultural Revolution spurred inter-elite unity, paving the way—after his death—for the consolidation of a new class that combined their political and cultural resources. This story is told through a case study of Tsinghua University, which—as China’s premier school of technology—was at the epicenter of these conflicts and became the party’s preferred training ground for technocrats, including many of China’s current leaders.

Class explains much in the differentiation of life chances and political dynamics in South Asia; scholarship from the region contributed much to class analysis. Yet class has lost its previous centrality as a way of understanding the world and how it changes. This outcome is puzzling; new configurations of global economic forces and policy have widened gaps between classes and across sectors and regions, altered people’s relations to production, and produced new state-citizen relations. Does market triumphalism or increased salience of identity politics render class irrelevant? Has rapid growth in aggregate wealth obviated long-standing questions of inequality and poverty?

Explanations for what happened to class vary, from intellectual fads to global transformations of interests. The authors ask what is lost in the move away from class, and what South Asian experiences tell us about the limits of class analysis. Empirical chapters examine formal and informal-sector labor, social movements against genetic engineering, and politics of the “new middle class.” A unifying analytical concern is specifying conditions under which interests of those disadvantaged by class systems are immobilized, diffused, co-opted—or autonomously recognized and acted upon politically: the problematic transition of classes in themselves to classes for themselves.

Millie Acevedo bore her first child before the age of 16 and dropped out of high school to care for her newborn. Now 27, she is the unmarried mother of three and is raising her kids in one of Philadelphia’s poorest neighborhoods. Would she and her children be better off if she had waited to have them and had married their father first? Why do so many poor American youth like Millie continue to have children before they can afford to take care of them?

Over a span of five years, sociologists Kathryn Edin and Maria Kefalas talked in-depth with 162 low-income single moms like Millie to learn how they think about marriage and family. Promises I Can Keep offers an intimate look at what marriage and motherhood mean to these women and provides the most extensive on-the-ground study to date of why they put children before marriage despite the daunting challenges they know lie ahead.