Cheng received her Ph.D. in Sociology and Public Policy and M.A. in Statistics from the University of Michigan, where she was also trained at the Population Studies Center. She received B.A. in Economics and Mathematical Statistics from Peking University. Prior to joining the faculty of NYU, Cheng was assistant professor of sociology at UCLA (2015-2016).
Cheng’s research encompasses various areas of stratification and inequality, labor market, work and occupations, and quantitative methodology. It aims to understand the production of inequality in the modern stratification system by adopting a longitudinal perspective, one that highlights the roles of long-term life trajectories, inter- and intra-generational mobility, career processes, labor flows and boundaries, and cumulative (dis)advantages.
Cheng’s work employs a broad array of methodological approaches, including causal inference, panel data methods, discrete choice models, network analysis, machine learning, and survey experiments.
Cheng’s work has been published in leading social science and general science journals, including the American Journal of Sociology, American Sociological Review, and the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).