I am Professor in the Division of Social Science at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology. My research focuses on demography, stratification and inequality, especially in China and in comparative perspective. I have written a longer discussion of the origins of my interest in conducting research on China.
With other members of the Lee-Campbell group, I am conducting a study of the Qing civil service and the careers of the officials who composed it by construction and analysis of a database of office holders based on the Jinshenlu (缙绅录) and related sources. I am involved in two other major projects with the Lee-Campbell Group that involve the creation and analysis of large, longitudinal, individual-level databases from archival records: a study of the social origins and careers of university students, professionals, and other elites in the first half of the twentieth century and a study of rural society in mainland China from 1949 to the mid-1960s using village-level microdata.
I continue research on kinship, inequality, and demographic behavior in China and in comparative perspective using large multi-generational population databases that my collaborators and I have constructed, most notably the the China Multigenerational Panel Datasets (CMGPD), which we have publicly released and are available at ICPSR. In connection with this, I have published on a wide variety of related topics, including economic, family and social influences on demographic outcomes such as birth, marriage, migration, and death, fertility limitation in historical China, and the role of kin networks in shaping social mobility. Related books were published by MIT Press and Cambridge University Press.
I was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship in 2004. I was named a Changjiang Scholar by the Ministry of Education of the People’s Republic of China in 2017, nominated by Central China Normal University, where I am a Changjiang Scholar Professor (長江學者講座教授). My papers have appeared in such journals as American Journal of Sociology, American Sociological Review, Demography, Population Studies, and Demographic Research.
I earned my MA and PhD at Penn and my BS in Engineering & Applied Science and History at Caltech. Regarding my time at Caltech, I have written a critical reflection.