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 (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, L. A. Preface: Working with dignity. Vol. 28, 2016, pp. ix–xi. Scopus, doi:10.1108/S0277-283320160000028019. Full Text

Keister, L. A., and V. Roscigno, editors. Working with Dignity: A Festschrift to Randy Hodson. 2016.

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

Keister, L. A., and D. E. Sherkat, editors. Religion and Inequality. Cambridge University Press, 2014.

. B. Religion, Work, and Money. Edited by L. A. Keister et al., 2012.

Keister, L. A., and D. E. Sherkat. Religion and inequality in America: Research and theory on religion’s role in stratification. 2012, pp. 1–359. Scopus, doi:10.1017/CBO9781139226479. Full Text

Keister, L. A. Faith and money: How religion contributes to wealth and poverty. 2011, pp. 1–248. Scopus, doi:10.1017/CBO9781139028547. Full Text

Keister, Lisa A. Social Stratification and Inequality. Cambridge University Press, 2011.

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

Keister, L. A., editor. Work and Organizations in China after Thirty Years of Transition. Emerald Group Publishing, 2009.


Keister, L. A. “Locked in Place: State-Building and Late Industrialization in India by Vivek Chibber.” American Journal of Sociology, 2006.

Keister, L. A. “The Making of the Chinese Industrial Workplace by Mark W. Frazier.” Contemporary Sociology, vol. 31, 2002, pp. 6–7.

Keister, L. A. “How to Enter China: Choices and Lessons by Yadong Luo.” Journal of Asian Studies, 2001, pp. 1165–66.

Keister, L. A. “Commercial Cultures: Economies, Practices, Spaces by Peter Jackson, Michelle Lowe, Daniel Miller, and Frank Mort.” Journal of Consumer Culture, vol. 2, Sage Publications, 2001, pp. 424–26.

Keister, L. A. “The New Dollars and Dreams by Frank Levy.” Contemporary Sociology, vol. 29, 2000, pp. 351–52.

Keister, L. A. “Commodifying Communism: Business, Trust, and Politics in a Chinese City by David L. Wank.” Contemporary Sociology, vol. 28, 1999, pp. 684–85.


Keister, L. A. “Religion and the Formation of a Latino Middle Class.” Religion and Inequality, edited by L. Keister and D. Sherkat, Cambridge University Press, 2014.

Keister, L. A., et al. Introduction. Vol. 23, 2012, pp. xi–xvi.

Keister, L. A., and E. P. Borelli. “Religion and wealth mobility: The case of American Latinos.” Religion and Inequality in America: Research and Theory on Religion’s Role in Stratification, 2012, pp. 119–45. Scopus, doi:10.1017/CBO9781139226479.009. Full Text

Keister, L. A. “Religion and Wealth Ownership across Generations.” Research in the Sociology of Work: Religion and Stratification, edited by L. Keister et al., Emerald, 2012.

Keister, L. A. “Childhood religious denomination and early adult asset accumulation.” Religion, Families, and Health: Population-Based Research in the United States, 2010, pp. 164–85.

Keister, Lisa A., and Lane Destro. Wealth and Inequality. Scribner, 2009.

Keister, L. A., and Randy Hodson. “Ownership and Innovation during Economic Development: Corporate Ownership and Strategy Formation in China.” Work and Organizations in China, Research in the Sociology of Work, 2009.

Keister, Lisa A. “Market Transition.” Handbook of Rational Choice Sociology, edited by Victor Nee et al., Russell Sage, 2008.

Keister, L. A. “I’d Rather Be Rich.” Inequalities and Societies Reader, W.W. Norton and Company, 2008.

Yamokoski, Alexis, and Lisa A. Keister. “The Wealth of Single Women: Marital Status and Parenthood in the Asset Accumulation of Young Baby Boomers in the United States.” Women and Wealth, Routledge, 2007.


Aronson, B., and L. A. Keister. “Overwork, Specialization, and Wealth.” Journal of Marriage and Family, vol. 81, no. 5, Oct. 2019, pp. 1053–73. Scopus, doi:10.1111/jomf.12596. Full Text

Keister, L. A., et al. “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, vol. 59, Feb. 2019, pp. 1–13. Scopus, doi:10.1016/j.rssm.2019.01.002. Full Text

Yavorsky, J. E., et al. “Women in the One Percent: Gender Dynamics in Top Income Positions.” American Sociological Review, vol. 84, no. 1, Feb. 2019, pp. 54–81. Scopus, doi:10.1177/0003122418820702. Full Text

Keister, L. A., et al. “Investing in the Homeland: cross-border investments and immigrant wealth in the U.S..” Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, Jan. 2019. Scopus, doi:10.1080/1369183X.2019.1592875. Full Text

Agius Vallejo, J., and L. A. Keister. “Immigrants and wealth attainment: migration, inequality, and integration.” Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, Jan. 2019. Scopus, doi:10.1080/1369183X.2019.1592872. Full Text

Eagle, D., et al. “Household Charitable Giving at the Intersection of Gender, Marital Status, and Religion.” Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly, vol. 47, no. 1, Feb. 2018, pp. 185–205. Scopus, doi:10.1177/0899764017734650. Full Text Open Access Copy

Benton, Richard A., and Lisa A. Keister. “The lasting effect of intergenerational wealth transfers: Human capital, family formation, and wealth..” Social Science Research, vol. 68, Nov. 2017, pp. 1–14. Epmc, doi:10.1016/j.ssresearch.2017.09.006. Full Text

Keister, L. A., and H. Y. Lee. “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, vol. 50, Aug. 2017, pp. 1–12. Scopus, doi:10.1016/j.rssm.2017.03.004. Full Text

Keister, Lisa A., and Brian Aronson. “Immigrants in the one percent: The national origin of top wealth owners..” Plos One, vol. 12, no. 2, Jan. 2017. Epmc, doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0172876. Full Text Open Access Copy


Keister, L. A. “Religion and wealth across generations.” Research in the Sociology of Work, vol. 23, 2012, pp. 131–50. Scopus, doi:10.1108/S0277-2833(2012)0000023009. Full Text

Keister, Lisa A., and Ting Xu. Inland Development in China. National Bureau of Asian Research Analysis, 2005.

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

Keister, L. A., and B. Fulton. Religion and Stratification. 26 Mar. 2015, pp. 292–97. Scopus, doi:10.1016/B978-0-08-097086-8.84045-3. Full Text

Kim, K. H. C., and H. G. Koenig. Religion and health. 1 Jan. 2014, pp. 182–87. Scopus, doi:10.1017/CBO9780511543579.039. Full Text

Keister, L. A. Meet America’s ‘Double Rich'. 2014.

Keister, L. A. The One Percent and Inequality. Cambridge University Press blog, 2013.

Keister, L. A., and W. Chen. “Financial Markets.” Encyclopedia of Modern China, edited by D. Pong, vol. 4, Charles Scribner’s Sons, 2009, pp. 52–55.

Keister, L. A., and L. Destro. “Saving.” Encyclopedia of the Life Course and Human Development, Scribner, 2008.

Keister, L. A. “Wealth Distribution.” The Encyclopedia of Economic Sociology, edited by J. Beckert and M. Zafirovski, Routledge, 2006, pp. 710–15.

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

Keister, L. A. “Money, Wealth, and Economic Sociology.” Accounts: A Newsletter of Economic Sociology, vol. 2, no. 2, 2002.

Keister, L. A. “Wealth Distribution.” Poverty and Social Welfare in America: An Encyclopedia, edited by G. Mink and A. O’Connor, 2002.