Xiang Zhou

Professor of Sociology


Xiang Zhou (周翔) is Professor of Sociology at Harvard University. He is also a faculty affiliate at the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs, Harvard Institute for Quantitative Social Science, Harvard Center for Population and Development Studies, and Fairbank Center for Chinese Studies. His research broadly concerns inequality, education, causal inference, and statistical and computational methods. His work has appeared in American Sociological Review, American Journal of Sociology, Social Forces, Journal of Political Economy, Journal of the Royal Statistical Society, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, among other peer-reviewed journals. Before coming to Harvard, Zhou worked as a postdoctoral research associate at Princeton University. He received a PhD in Sociology and Statistics from the University of Michigan in 2015.

Research Interests: Sociology, Quantitative Methodology, Social Stratification and Mobility, Contemporary Chinese Society.

Selected Publications:


  • Wodtke, Geoffrey T., Xiang Zhou, and Felix Elwert. Causal Mediation Analysis. Under Contract, Cambridge University Press.

Recent Articles

  • Zhou, Xiang, and Teppei Yamamoto. Forthcoming. “Tracing Causal Paths from Experimental and Observational Data.” Journal of Politics.
  • Zhou, Xiang. 2022. “Semiparametric Estimation for Causal Mediation Analysis with Multiple Causally Ordered Mediators.” Journal of the Royal Statistical Society: Series B (Statistical Methodology).
  • Xie, Yu, Hao Dong, Xiang Zhou, and Xi Song. 2022. “Trends in Social Mobility in Post-Revolution China.” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 119(7): e2117471119
  • Cheng, Siwei, Jennie E. Brand, Xiang Zhou, Yu Xie, and Michael Hout. 2021. “Heterogeneous Returns to College over the Life Course.” Science Advances. 51(7): eabg7641
  • Zhou, Xiang, and Geo rey T. Wodtke. 2020. “Residual Balancing: A Method of Constructing Weights for Marginal Structural Models.” Political Analysis. 28(4): 487-506
  • Zhou, Xiang, and Yu Xie. 2020. “Heterogeneous Treatment E ects in the Presence of Self-Selection: A Propensity Score Perspective.” Sociological Methodology. 50 (1):350-385
  • Wodtke, Geoffrey T. and Xiang Zhou. 2020. “Effect Decomposition in the Presence of Treatment-induced Confounding: A Regression-with-Residuals Approach.” Epidemiology. 31 (3):369-375
  • Wodtke, Geoffrey T., Zahide Alaca, and Xiang Zhou. 2020. “Regression-With-Residuals Estimation of Marginal Effects: A Method of Adjusting for Treatment-Induced Confounders That May Also Be Effect Modifiers.” Journal of the Royal Statistical Society: Series A (Statistics in Society). 183 (1):311-332.
  • Zhou, Xiang, and Yu Xie. 2019. “Marginal Treatment Effects from a Propensity Score Perspective.” Journal of Political Economy. 127 (6):3070-3084
  • Zhou, Xiang. 2019. “Hierarchical Item Response Models for Analyzing Public Opinion.” Political Analysis. 27(4):481-502
  • Zhou, Xiang, and Geoffrey T.Wodtke 2019. “A Regression-with-ResidualsMethod for Estimating Controlled Direct Effects.” Political Analysis. 27 (3):360-369
  • Zhou, Xiang. 2019. “Equalization or Selection? Reassessing the ‘Meritocratic Power’ of a College Degree in Intergenerational Income Mobility.” American Sociological Review. 84 (3):459-485
  • Zhou, Xiang, and Yu Xie. 2019. “Market Transition, Industrialization, and Social Mobility Trends in Post-Revolution China.” American Journal of Sociology. 124 (6):1810-1847
  • Zhou, Xiang, and Geoffrey T. Wodtke. 2019. “Income Stratification among Occupational Classes in the United States.” Social Forces. 97 (3):945-972
  • Bloome, Deirdre, Shauna Dyer, and Xiang Zhou. 2018. “Educational Inequality, Educational Expansion, and Intergenerational Income Persistence in the United States.” American Sociological Review. 83 (6):1215-1253
  • Zhou, Xiang, and Yu Xie. 2016. “Propensity-Score-Based Methods versus MTE-Based Methods in Causal Inference: Identification, Estimation, and Application.” Sociological Methods & Research. 45(1):3-40
  • Zhou, Xiang. 2015. “Shrinkage Estimation of Log Odds Ratios for Comparing Mobility Tables.” Sociological Methodology. 45(1):320-356
  • Xie, Yu, Siwei Cheng, and Xiang Zhou. 2015. “Assortative Mating without Assortative Preference.” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 112(19):5974-5978
  • Zhou, Xiang. 2014. “Increasing Returns to Education, Changing Labor Force Structure, and the Rise of Earnings Inequality in Urban China, 1996-2010.” Social Forces 93(2):429-455
  • Zhang, Chunni, Qi Xu, Xiang Zhou, Xiaobo Zhang, and Yu Xie. 2014. “Are Poverty Rates Underestimated in China? New Evidence from Four Recent Surveys.” China Economic Review 31:410-425
  • Xie, Yu, and Xiang Zhou. 2014. “Income Inequality in Today’s China.” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 111(19): 6928-6933
  • Zhou, Xiang. 2012. “A Nonparametric Index of Stratification.” Sociological Methodology 42(1): 365-388.
  • Xie, Yu, and Xiang Zhou. 2012. “Modeling Individual-level Heterogeneity in Racial Residential Segregation.” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 109(29): 11646-11651. 


Invited Talks

  • School of International Studies, Renmin University of China, March 2022
  • CMStatistics Conference, December 2021
  • Department of Sociology, Central China Normal University, November 2021
  • Center for Social Data Analytics, Pennsylvania State University, October 2021
  • Department of Sociology, Chinese University of Hong Kong, October 2021 & March 2022
  • Center for the Study of Wealth and Inequality, Columbia University, September 2021
  • Interdisciplinary Training Program, University of Wisconsin, Madison, September 2021
  • School of Public Administration, Renmin University of China, May 2021
  • Department of Sociology, Zhejiang University, May 2021
  • Department of Sociology Colloquium, University of Chicago, March 2021
  • School of Sociology and Political Science, Shanghai University, August 2020
  • Department of Sociology Colloquium, Princeton University, December 2019
  • Jain Family Institute Discussion Series, April 2019
  • Director’s Dinner, Fairbank Center for Chinese Studies, Harvard University, April 2019
  • School of Public Administration Seminar Series, Tsinghua University, June 2018
  • Conference on China Studies, National Taiwan University, May 2018
  • East Asia Workshop, University of Chicago, May 2018
  • Political Methodology Speaker Series, MIT, April 2018
  • 7th Annual JRCPPF Annual Conference, Princeton University, February 2017