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 Great Divides: Readings in Social Inequality. McGraw-Hill Companies, 2003.

Keister, Lisa A. “Wealth Inequality.” In Encyclopedia of Social Issues. M.E. Sharpe, 2003.

Keister, Lisa A. “Wealth Distribution.” In Poverty and Social Welfare in America: An Encyclopedia, edited by Gwendolyn Mink and Alice O. Connor, 2002.

Keister, Lisa A. “Wealth Inequality.” In Inequalities and Societies Reader. W. W. Norton and Company, 2002.

Keister, Lisa A. “Guanxi in Business Groups: Social Ties and the Formation of Economic Relations.” In Social Connections in China: Institutions, Culture, and the Changing Nature of Guanxi, edited by Thomas B. Gold, Doug Guthrie, and David Wank, 77–96. Cambridge University Press, 2002.

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

Keister, Lisa A. “Insider Lending and Economic Transition: The Structure, Function, and Performance Impact of Finance Companies in Chinese Business Groups.” In Managing Organizational Change in Transition Economies, edited by Daniel Dennison. University of Michigan Press, 2000.

Keister, Lisa A., and Steven Caldwell. “The Distribution of Household Wealth in the U.S., 1962-1992: Estimates Using Dynamic Microsimulation.” In Microsimulation in Government Policy and Forecasting, edited by Anil Gupta. Elsevier, 2000.

Caldwell, Steven, and Lisa Keister. “Wealth in America: Family Stock Ownership and Accumulation, 1960-1995.” In Microsimulation for Urban and Regional Policy Analysis, edited by Graham Clarke. Pion, 1996.

Benton, R., L. A. Keister, and H. Y. Lee. “Real Estate Holdings among the Super Rich.” In Cities and the Super Rich: Real Estate, Elite Practices, and Urban Political Economies, edited by R. Forrest, B. Wissink, and S. Y. Koh. Palgrave MacMillan, n.d.


Keister, Lisa A., and Hang Young Lee. “The One Percent: Wealth and Income Concentration.” Sociological Currents, March 2014.

Keister, L. A. “The one percent.” Annual Review of Sociology 40 (January 1, 2014): 347–67. Full Text Open Access Copy

Keister, L. A., and H. Y. Lee. “The one percent: Top incomes and wealth in sociological research.” Social Currents 1, no. 1 (January 1, 2014): 13–24. Full Text

Keister, L. A., and E. P. Borelli. “Market transition: An assessment of the state of the field.” Sociological Perspectives 55, no. 2 (June 1, 2012): 267–94. Full Text Open Access Copy

Keister, L. A. “Religion and attainment.” Sociological Focus 44, no. 4 (January 1, 2011): 354–83. Full Text Open Access Copy

Keister, Lisa A. “Business Groups in China.” American Behavioral Scientist, 2010.

Keister, L. A. “Organizational research on market transition: A sociological approach.” Asia Pacific Journal of Management 26, no. 4 (October 1, 2009): 719–42. Full Text

Keister, L. A. “Interfirm relations in China: Group structure and firm performance in business groups.” American Behavioral Scientist 52, no. 12 (August 1, 2009): 1709–30. Full Text

Keister, Lisa A., and Yanlong Zhang. “8 Organizations and Management in China.” The Academy of Management Annals 3, no. 1 (January 2009): 377–420. Full Text