Xueguang Zhou is the Kwoh-Ting Li Professor in Economic Development, a professor of sociology, and a senior fellow at Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies. 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 modes of governance in the Chinese bureaucracy (Journal of Sociological Research, 2012, with Hong Lian), the relationship between the central authority and the Chinese bureaucracy (Open Times, 2013), and the processes of muddling through in policy implementation (the China Journal, 2013, with Hong Lian, Leonard Ortolano and Yinyu Ye); and the development of agricultural markets in China (China Quarterly, with Yun Ai). He has recently completed a book manuscript The Institutional Logic of Governance in China: An Organizational Approach (in Chinese, 商务印书馆 The Commercial Press).
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.