Lisa A. Keister

Lisa A. Keister

Professor of Sociology

External address: 
268 Soc/Psych Bldg, Durham, NC 27708
Internal office address: 
Duke Box 90088, Durham, NC 27708-0088
(919) 660-5624


I do research in the areas of economic sociology, organizations and management, and social networks. I study organization and household behavior in both the U.S. and China, including work on organization strategy and the role that relations among organizations play in shaping strategy, household financial decision making, and business start-up. My work on business networks in China looks at relations among firms and how these shape firm performance, survival, and structure. I also do work on wealth accumulation and the factors that contribute to wealth disparities, including social networks, inheritance, religion, and inheritance.  


Education & Training

  • Ph.D., Cornell University 1997

  • M.A., Cornell University 1995

  • M.A., University of Oklahoma 1991

Selected Grants

Testing Multiple Modes of Data Collection with Network Sampling with Memory awarded by National Institutes of Health (Co Investigator). 2016 to 2019

Inheritance and Wealth Inequality awarded by Russell Sage Foundation (Principal Investigator). 2016 to 2019

Wealth Ownership and Declining Health in the U.S awarded by National Institutes of Health (Principal Investigator). 2017 to 2018

Chinese American Wealth: Heterogeneity and Adaptation in the First and Second Generations awarded by National Science Foundation (Principal Investigator). 2013 to 2017

Religion and Inequality: How Religious Belief Contributes to Wealth and Poverty awarded by National Science Foundation (Principal Investigator). 2009 to 2012

Childhood Family Processes and Adult Wealth Ownership awarded by National Institutes of Health (Principal Investigator). 2006 to 2008

Ownership and Innovation: Corporate Ownership and Strategy Formation During China's Transition awarded by National Science Foundation (Principal Investigator). 2006 to 2008

Keister, LA. Preface: Working with dignity. January 1, 2016. Full Text

Working with Dignity: A Festschrift to Randy Hodson. Edited by LA Keister and V Roscigno. 2016.

Keister, LA, and Zhang, Y. Organizations and Management in China. Routledge, 2016.

Religion and Inequality. Edited by Keister, LA and Sherkat, DE.: Cambridge University Press, 2014.

., . Religion, Work, and Money. Edited by LA Keister, J McCarthy, and R Finke. 2012.

Keister, LA, and Southgate, D. Inequality: A Contemporary Approach to Race, Class, and Gender. Cambridge University Press, 2011.

Keister, LA. Social Stratification and Inequality. Cambridge University Press, 2011.

Work and Organizations in China after Thirty Years of Transition. Edited by LA Keister. Emerald Group Publishing, 2009.


Keister, LA. "Religion and the Formation of a Latino Middle Class." In Religion and Inequality,edited by L Keister and D Sherkat. Cambridge University Press, 2014. (Chapter)

Keister, LA, McCarthy, J, and Finke, R. "Introduction.", xi-xvi. January 1, 2012.

Keister, LA, and Borelli, EP. "Religion and wealth mobility: The case of American Latinos." In Religion and Inequality in America: Research and Theory on Religion's Role in Stratification, 119-145. January 1, 2012. Full Text

Keister, LA. "Religion and Wealth Ownership across Generations." In Research in the Sociology of Work: Religion and Stratification,edited by L Keister, J McCarthy, and R Finke. Emerald, 2012. (Chapter)

Keister, LA. "Childhood religious denomination and early adult asset accumulation." In Religion, Families, and Health: Population-Based Research in the United States, 164-185. December 1, 2010.

Keister, LA, and Destro, L. "Wealth and Inequality." Scribner, 2009.

Keister, LA, and Hodson, R. "Ownership and Innovation during Economic Development: Corporate Ownership and Strategy Formation in China." In Work and Organizations in China, Research in the Sociology of Work. 2009.

Keister, LA. "I’d Rather Be Rich." In Inequalities and Societies Reader. New York: W.W. Norton and Company, 2008. (Chapter)

Keister, LA. "Market Transition." In Handbook of Rational Choice Sociology,edited by V Nee, T Snijders, and R Wittek. Russell Sage, 2008.


Keister, LA, Benton, RA, and Moody, JW. "Cohorts and wealth transfers: Generational changes in the receipt of inheritances, trusts, and inter vivos gifts in the United States." Research in Social Stratification and Mobility 59 (February 1, 2019): 1-13. Full Text

Yavorsky, JE, Keister, LA, Qian, Y, and Nau, M. "Women in the One Percent: Gender Dynamics in Top Income Positions." American Sociological Review 84, no. 1 (February 1, 2019): 54-81. Full Text

Eagle, D, Keister, LA, and Read, JG. "Household Charitable Giving at the Intersection of Gender, Marital Status, and Religion." Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly 47, no. 1 (February 1, 2018): 185-205. Full Text Open Access Copy

Benton, RA, and Keister, LA. "The lasting effect of intergenerational wealth transfers: Human capital, family formation, and wealth." Social science research 68 (November 2017): 1-14. Full Text

Keister, LA, and Lee, HY. "The double one percent: Identifying an elite and a super-elite using the joint distribution of income and net worth." Research in Social Stratification and Mobility 50 (August 1, 2017): 1-12. Full Text

Keister, LA, and Aronson, B. "Immigrants in the one percent: The national origin of top wealth owners." Plos One 12, no. 2 (January 2017): e0172876-null. Full Text Open Access Copy

Chénier, RC, Fink, JJ, and Keister, LA. "Race and Consumption: Black and White Disparities in Household Spending." Sociology of Race and Ethnicity 3, no. 1 (May 9, 2016): 50-67. Open Access Copy

Freeland, RE, and Keister, LA. "How Does Race and Ethnicity Affect Persistence in Immature Ventures?." Journal of Small Business Management 54, no. 1 (January 1, 2016): 210-228. Full Text Open Access Copy


Keister, LA, and Xu, T. Inland Development in China. National Bureau of Asian Research Analysis, 2005.

Keister, LA, and Lu, J. The Transformation Continues: The Status of Chinese State Owned Enterprises, 2001. National Bureau of Asian Research Analysis, 2001.

Keister, LA, and Fulton, B. "Religion and Stratification." (March 26, 2015): 292-297. (Chapter) Full Text

Kim, KHC, and Koenig, HG. "Religion and health." (January 1, 2014): 182-187. (Chapter) Full Text

Keister, LA. "Meet America’s ‘Double Rich'." (2014). (Essay)

Keister, LA. "The One Percent and Inequality." (2013). (Essay)

Keister, LA, and Chen, W. "Financial Markets." Edited by D Pong. Encyclopedia of Modern China 4 (2009): 52-55. (Essay)

Keister, LA, and Destro, L. "Saving." Encyclopedia of the Life Course and Human Development (2008). (Essay)

Keister, LA. "Wealth Distribution." Edited by J Beckert and M Zafirovski. The Encyclopedia of Economic Sociology (2006): 710-715. (Essay)

Keister, LA. "Wealth Inequality." Encyclopedia of Social Issues (2003). (Essay)

Keister, LA. "Money, Wealth, and Economic Sociology." Accounts: A Newsletter of Economic Sociology 2, no. 2 (2002). (Essay)

Keister, LA. "Wealth Distribution." Edited by G Mink and A O'Connor. Poverty and Social Welfare in America: An Encyclopedia (2002). (Essay)