Xueguang Zhou is the Kwoh-Ting Li Professor in Economic Development, a professor of sociology, and a Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies senior fellow. His main area of research is on institutional changes in contemporary Chinese society, focusing on Chinese organizations and management, social inequality, and state-society relationships.
One of Zhou's current research projects is a study of the rise of the bureaucratic state in China. He works with students and colleagues to conduct participatory observations of government behaviors in the areas of environmental regulation enforcement, in policy implementation, in bureaucratic bargaining, and in incentive designs. He also studies patterns of career mobility and personnel flow among different government offices to understand intra-organizational relationships in the Chinese bureaucracy.
Another ongoing project is an ethnographic study of rural governance in China. Zhou adopts a microscopic approach to understand how peasants, village cadres, and local governments encounter and search for solutions to emerging problems and challenges in their everyday lives, and how institutions are created, reinforced, altered, and recombined in response to these problems. Research topics are related to the making of markets, village elections, and local government behaviors.
His recent publications examine the role of bureaucracy in public goods provision in rural China (Modern China, 2011); interactions among peasants, markets, and capital (China Quarterly, 2011); access to financial resources in Chinese enterprises (Chinese Sociological Review, 2011, with Lulu Li); multiple logics in village elections (Social Sciences in China, 2010, with Ai Yun); and collusion among local governments in policy implementation (Research in the Sociology of Organizations, 2011, with Ai Yun and Lian Hong; and Modern China, 2010).
Before joining Stanford in 2006, Zhou taught at Cornell University, Duke University, and Hong Kong University of Science and Technology. He is a guest professor at Peking University, Tsinghua University, and the People's University of China. Zhou received his PhD in sociology from Stanford University in 1991.