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

Keister, Lisa A. “Wealth Distribution.” In The Encyclopedia of Economic Sociology, edited by Jens Beckert and Milan Zafirovski. Routledge, 2006.

Keister, L. A., and S. Moller. “Wealth Inequality in the United States.” In Social Stratification: Critical Concepts in the Social Sciences, edited by D. Inglis and J. Bone. London: Routledge, 2006.

Keister, L. A. “Introduction,” Vol. 15, 2005. Full Text

Keister, Lisa A. “Interfirm Relations in Business Groups: Group Structure and Firm Performance in China.” In Networks and Organizations During Transition, edited by Stewart Clegg and Michael Berrell, 2005.

Keister, Lisa A. “Who Owns What? The Changing Distribution of Wealth.” In Intersecting Inequalities: Class, Race, Sex, and Sexuality. Prentice Hall, 2005.

Kim, P. H., H. E. Aldrich, and L. A. Keister. “Household income and net worth.” In Handbook of Entrepreneurial Dynamics: The Process of Business Creation, 49–61, 2004. Full Text

Haveman, H. A., and L. A. Keister. “The effects of domain overlap and non-overlap on organizational performance, growth, and survival.” In The Sociology of the Economy, 228–64, 2004.

Keister, Lisa A. “Wealth Distribution.” In Encyclopedia of Economic Sociology. Routledge, 2004.

Keister, Lisa A., and Stephanie Moller. “Wealth Inequality in the United States.” In New Developments in Economic Sociology, edited by Richard Swedberg. Elgar Publishing, 2004.

Haveman, Heather A., and Lisa A. Keister. “The Dynamics of Domain Overlap: Effects on Financial Performance, Growth, and Failure.” In Current Issues in Economic Sociology, edited by Frank Dobbin. Princeton University Press, 2004.


Charron-Chénier, Raphaël, Joshua J. Fink, and Lisa A. Keister. “Race and Consumption: Black and White Disparities in Household Spending..” Sociology of Race and Ethnicity (Thousand Oaks, Calif.) 3, no. 1 (January 2017): 50–67. Full Text Open Access Copy

Keister, L. A., and J. A. Vallejo. “Chinese Immigrant Wealth: Heterogeneity in Adaptation.,” 2016.

Freeland, R. E., and L. A. Keister. “How Does Race and Ethnicity Affect Persistence in Immature Ventures?.” Journal of Small Business Management 54, no. 1 (January 1, 2016): 210–28. Full Text Open Access Copy

Keister, Lisa A., Jody Agius Vallejo, and Brian Aronson. “Chinese Immigrant Wealth: Heterogeneity in Adaptation..” Plos One 11, no. 12 (January 2016). Full Text Open Access Copy

Keister, Lisa A., Richard Benton, and James Moody. “Lifestyles through Expenditures: A Case-Based Approach to Saving..” Sociological Science 3 (January 2016): 650–84. Full Text Open Access Copy

Keister, Lisa A., Jody Agius Vallejo, and E Paige Borelli. “Mexican American Mobility: Early Life Processes and Adult Wealth Ownership..” Social Forces; a Scientific Medium of Social Study and Interpretation 93, no. 3 (March 2015): 1015–46. Full Text Open Access Copy

Keister, Lisa A. “Financial Asset Ownership: The Case of Chinese and Indian Immigrants to the United States..” Business and Economics Journal 6 (January 2015). Open Access Copy

Keister, L. A., and D. Eagle. “Religion and Inequality: The Role of Status Attainment and Social Balance Processes.” Social Theory and Research 4, no. 1 (2015): 41–74.


Keister, Lisa A. “Is the Estate Tax a Modern Robin Hood?.” The American Prospect, May 2001.

Keister, Lisa A. “China’s Financial Market and the Asian Crisis.” University of Michigan Center for Society and Economy Policy Newsletter, 2001.

Keister, L. A. “Friend or Foe? Business Groups During China's Economic Development.” Chinese Business History, 2001.

Keister, L. A. “Attitudes toward Inequality.” New York Times Opinion Pages, n.d.