Professor Nancy Tuma has long-standing interests in life careers, social stratification, and quantitative methods for studying change. She has studied life careers and inequality in the United States, Germany, and China. With the support of the National Science Foundation and the Spencer Foundation, and with previous support from the National Council for Eurasian and East European Research, she is collecting and analyzing longitudinal data from young adults in eight post-Soviet countries. The main goals are to learn how changes in the political, economic, and social structures in these societies affect the lives of individuals in the societies, and in particular, patterns of social inequality.
In addition, Tuma has a continuing interest in developing quantitative methods for studying change. For the past few years, her interest in this topic has focused on models for studying the impacts of social networks on the occurrence of events and especially on the diffusion of social behaviors through a population.