Karen Cook

Ray Lyman Wilbur Professor of Sociology
B.A. Stanford University
M.A. Stanford University
Ph.D. Stanford University
Karen Cook

Karen S. Cook is the Ray Lyman Wilbur Professor of Sociology and founding, and former Director of the Institute for Research in the Social Sciences (IRiSS). She conducts research on social interaction, social networks, social exchange, and trust. She has edited a number of books in the Russell Sage Foundation Trust Series, including Trust in Society (2001), Trust and Distrust in Organizations: Emerging Perspectives (with R. Kramer, 2004), eTrust: Forming Relations in the Online World (with C. Snijders, V. Buskens, and Coye Cheshire, 2009), and Whom Can Your Trust? (with M. Levi and R. Hardin, 2009). She is co-author of Cooperation without Trust? (with R. Hardin and M. Levi, 2005) and she co-edited Sociological Perspectives on Social Psychology (with Gary Alan Fine and James S. House, 1995). In 1996, she was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and in 2007 to the National Academy of Sciences. In 2004 she received the ASA Social Psychology Section Cooley Mead Award for Career Contributions to Social Psychology. In 2018 she was elected to the American Philosophical Society.


Current and Founding Director, Institute for Research in the Social Sciences (IRiSS);

Board of Trustees, Russell Sage Foundation (2012-present)

Latest Publications

Journal Articles & Book Chapters

“Trust in Social Relations.” Oliver Schilke, Martin Reimann, and Karen S. Cook (to appear in Annual Review of Sociology, vol. 47, 2021)

“An Interaction Ritual Theory of Social Resource Exchange: Evidence from a Silicon Valley Accelerator.” Rekha Krishnan, Karen S. Cook and Oliver Schilke, Administrative Science Quarterly.(to appear in 2020).

“Sociological Perspectives on Trust” Karen S. Cook and Jessica Santana. in Judith Simon (Editor), The Routledge Handbook on Trust and Philosophy. New York: Routledge Press. (2019)

“Growth from Trauma: Gender Differences in the Experience of Cancer and Long-term Survivorship.” Karen Powroznik,  Irena Stepanikova, and Karen S. Cook. In Jennie Jacobs Kronenfeld (Ed.) Gender, Women’s Health Concerns and Other Social Factors in Health and HealthCare Vol. 36. (2018)

“Long-term Implications of Autologous HCT for Caregiver Quality of Life: How Does the Survivor’s Health Matter?” Irena Stepanikova, Karen Powroznik, Karen S. Cook, D. Kathryn Tierney, and Ginna Laport. In Supportive Care in Cancer (2018).

Reply to Goldfarb: “On the Heritability and Socialization of Trust and Distrust” in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), February, 2018.

“Social Networks: An Introduction. Special Compilation from the Annual Review of Sociology.” 2018. https://www.annualreviews.org/compilations/soc/networkscience, Pescosolido, B.A., Sporns, O., Cook, K.S.


“Swift Trust: State-of-the-Art and Future Research Directions.” 2018. Kirsimarja Blomqvist and Karen S. Cook. In Rosalind H. Searle, Ann-Marie I. Nienaber and Sim B. Sitkin (Editors), The Routledge Companion to Trust. Oxford, U.K.: Routledge Press. ISBN 9781138817593 (Pp. 29-49).

“Long-Term Implications of Cancer for Work and Financial Wellbeing: Evidence from Autologous Hematopoietic Cell Transplantation (HCT) Survivors.” Irena Stepanikova, Karen Powroznik, Karen S. Cook, Kathryn Tierney, Ginna Laport. Maturitas 2017.

“Online Field Experiments: Studying Social Interaction in Context.” Jessica Santana, Paolo Parigi, Karen S. Cook, Social Psychology Quarterly (March, 2017)

“Trust and Rational Choice.” Karen S. Cook and Jessica J. Santana. In Eric Uslaner (Editor), Handbook of Trust Research. Oxford: Oxford University Press (2017)

“Trust and Social Dilemmas: Selected Evidence and Applications.” Karen S. Cook and Bogdan State. In Trust in Social Dilemmas, edited by Paul A. M. Van Lange, Bettina Rockenbach and Toshio Yamagishi, Oxford: Oxford University Press (2017)

“Trust is Extensible: A Field Experiment on Airbnb’s User Population.” Bruno Abrahao, Paolo Parigi, Alok Gupta, Karen S. Cook. PNAS, August 28, 2017.

"Trust is heritable, whereas distrust is not." Oliver Schilke, Martin Reimann, and Karen S. Cook. PNAS, July, 2017.

“Reputation effects in social networks do not promote cooperation: An experimental test of the Raub and Weesie model.” Rense Corten, Stephanie Rosenkranz, Vincent Buskens and Karen S. Cook, PLOS ONE (July, 2016)

“Trust in Economic Organization” Karen S. Cook and Bogdan State. To appear in Emerging Trends in the Behavioral and Social Sciences,  Robert Scott and Steve Kosslyn (Eds.) Wiley: New York, 2015.

“Social Capital and Inequality: The Significance of Social Connections.” Karen S. Cook. To appear in Jane McLleod, Michael Schwalbe and Edward Lawler, Handbook of Social Psychology and Inequality. Springer: New York, 2014.

“Sources of Alliance Partner Trustworthiness: Integrating Calculative and Relational Approaches.” Oliver Schilke and Karen S. Cook. To appear in Strategic Management Journal, 2014.

“A Community of Strangers: the Dis-embedding of Social Ties.” P. Parigi, B. State, D. Daklallah, R. Corten, K. Cook. PLOS One, July 4, 2013.

“A Cross-Level Theory of Trust Development in Interorganizational Relationships.” Oliver Schilke and Karen S. Cook. Strategic Organization, Vol. 11 (2) May, 2013.

“Social Exchange, Power and Inequality in Networks,” Karen S. Cook and Coye Cheshire. Pp. 185-219 In Rafael Wittek, Tom A.B. Snijders and Victor Nee (eds.) The Handbook of Rational Choice Social Research, Stanford, California: Stanford University Press, 2013.

“The Effect of Relationship Experience on Trust Recovery Following a Breach,” Oliver Schilke, Martin Reimann, Karen S. Cook, Proceedings of the Natonal Academy of Science (PNAS) September 3, 2013.

“From Power to Status in Large Scale Online Exchanges,” Bogdan State, Bruno Abrahao, and Karen S. Cook, Web of Science. http.websci12.org (Best Extended Abstract Paper Award). June, 2012.

“Public Trust: The Role of Public, Organizational and Interpersonal Trust in Economic Affairs,” Karen S. Cook and Oliver Schilke, Public Trust, Brian Moriarity (ed) Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. 2012

“Trust in Transitions.” Dominika Latusek and Karen S. Cook, Kyklos: International Review for the Social Sciences 2012.


Whom Can we Trust?  How Groups, Networks and Institutions Make Trust Possible. 2009. Karen S. Cook, Margaret Levi and Russell Hardin (eds.) New York: Russell Sage Foundation Publications.

eTrust: Forming Relationships in the Online World. 2009. Karen S. Cook, Chris Snijders, Vincent Buskens and Coye Cheshire (eds.) New York: Russell Sage Foundation Publications.

Cooperation Without Trust? Karen S. Cook, Russell Hardin, Margaret Levi. (2005) New York: Russell Sage Publications


Bldg. 120, rm. 135

Research Interests