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Aaron Horvath

Aaron Horvath

Aaron Horvath

A.B., Princeton University, 2010


I am a PhD candidate in the Stanford University Department of Sociology and am affiliated with the Stanford Center on Philanthropy and Civil Society (PACS).  My interests center on the coevolution of ideas, organizations, and people. In my dissertation, I explore the evolving ideals of rational government administration in the U.S. from the late-19th to mid-20th century, looking to understand how calls for morally upright administrators developed into a regime of abstract comparison and calculated optimization.

In another project, Woody Powell and I are examining the social and historical processes by which ultra-rich philanthropists and their foundations — whose wealth and influence was once considered a serious threat to democracy — came to be regarded as legitimate underwriters of public provision in the U.S.

Lastly, Woody Powell, Christof Brandtner, and I are conducting a longitudinal study of the San Francisco Bay Area nonprofit sector, seeking to understand how nonprofits interact with new ideas about management while also responding to changing community needs. Along with a team of international collaborators, we are currently broadening our lens beyond the Bay Area to include the Puget Sound, Shenzhen, Sydney, and Vienna nonprofit sectors.

Prior to Stanford, I received an undergraduate degree from Princeton University, and worked in public policy at the Urban Institute and Mathematica Policy Research. My free time revolves around bicycles, bookended by coffee and beer.