Professor Yao Lu is Professor of Sociology and faculty affiliate of the Columbia Population Research Center (CPRC), the Weatherhead East Asian Institute (WEAI), the Data Science Institute (DSI), the Institute for Social and Economic Research and Policy (ISERP), the China Center for Social Policy, and the Institute of Latin American Studies (ILAS) at Columbia University.
Professor Yao’s research focuses on social stratification and migration/immigration, with a primary emphasis on 1) the impact of migration on economic and social inequality in sending and receiving societies, 2) the influence of demographic forces on political processes, and 3) the sources of inequality by gender, race/ethnicity, and nativity in the high-skilled labor market. Within these general areas, her research encompasses a range of subfields spanning from labor markets to collective action, health, child development, gender, and race and ethnicity. She has investigated these topics across diverse socioeconomic settings, including but not limited to China, Canada, and the United States. For her research on China, she has sought to expand general Western-oriented sociological theories by examining how particular state institutions in China have created distinct paths of social and political change. Additionally, her research takes a comparative approach by investigating how institutional environments shape immigrant selection and adaptation in the United States and Canada. Her research draws on a range of quantitative methods for causal inference and trajectory analysis, and has most recently adopted computational tools for big data analysis.