Xueguang Zhou

Professor of Sociology; Kwoh-Ting Li Professor in Economic Development and FSI Senior Fellow
Office Hours: Mondays: 3-4
Office: Encina Hall, Rm: C325
Xueguang Zhou

Xueguang Zhou is the Kwoh-Ting Li Professor in Economic Development, a professor of sociology and an FSI senior fellow. His main area of research is institutional changes in contemporary Chinese society, focusing on Chinese organizations and management, social inequality, and state-society relationships.

One of Zhou's current research projects is a study of career mobility and intraorganizational relationships in the Chinese bureaucracy. He works with students and colleagues to collect data on personnel flow across different levels and adminisrative jurisdictions in an entire province, from 1990 to 2019. 

Another ongoing project examines the historical origins of the bureaucratic state. Drawing on historical research and sociological theorizing, Zhou examines different aspects of the historical evolution of the bureaucratic state, in light of personnel management, paths of state building, and the role of patrimonial authority.  

His forthcoming book The Logic of Governance in China: An Organizational Approach (Cambridge University Press, 2022) summarized his decade-long fieldwork and research on various aspects of governmance practice in contemporary China. Recent publications include:  "Chinese Bureaucracy Through Three Lenses: Weberian, Confucian, and Marchian," (Management and Organization Review 2021),  "Modes of Governance in the Chinese Governments: A Control Rights Theory" (with Hong Lian, The China Journal 2020), and book chapters on social media in China (2020), and the role of local bureacrats and economic development (with Ling Zhu, 2021). With collaborators, Zhou has published a series of academic articles on personnel flow in the Chinese bureaucracy in recent years. See his c.v. for more information.

Before joining Stanford in 2006, Zhou taught at Cornell University, Duke University, and Hong Kong University of Science and Technology. He is a guest professor at Peking University, Tsinghua University, and The People's University of China. He received his PhD in sociology from Stanford University in 1991.

Latest Publications

Journal Articles & Book Chapters

Zhou, Xueguang, Yu Ai, Jianhua Ge, Huijun Gu, Lan Li, Qinglian Lu, Wei Zhao, and Ling Zhu. 2018. “Stratified Spatial Mobility in the Chinese Bureaucracy: A Model and Empirical Evidence.” Society (in Chinese). 38(3):1-45.

Xueguang Zhou and Yun Ai.  2014. “Capitalism without Capital: Capital Conversion and Market Making in Rural China.” China Quarterly, July.

Xueguang Zhou, Hong Lian, Leonard Ortolano and Yinyu Ye. 2013. “A Behavioral Model of ‘Muddling Through’ in the Chinese Bureaucracy.” The China Journal  (July) 70: 120-147.

Xueguang Zhou. 2013. “State Governance and The Chinese Bureaucracy: A Weberian Approach.” (in Chinese, “国家治理逻辑与中国官僚体制:一个韦伯理论角度”) Open Times (开放时代)  3.

Xueguang Zhou. 2012.  “Mobilizational State: Further Exploration in the Institutional Logic of State Governance in China.” (in Chinese, “运动型治理机制:中国国家治理的制度逻辑再思考”) Open Times (开放时代) 9:100-120.

Xueguang Zhou. 2012. “Modes of Governance in the Chinese Bureaucracy: A ‘Control Right’ Theory.” (in Chinese, “中国政府的治理模式:一个‘控制权’理论”) Journal of Sociological Research (社会学研究): 5:69-93.

Xueguang Zhou, Yun Ai, and Hong Lian. 2012. “The Limit of Bureaucratic Power in Organizations:  the Case of the Chinese Bureaucracy.” Research in the Sociology of Organizations 34: 81-111.

Xueguang Zhou. 2012. “The Road to Collective Debt in Rural China: Government Bureaucracies and Public Goods Provision.” Modern China 38 (3): 271-307.


The Logic of Governance in China: An Organizational Approach (Cambridge Univeresity Press, 2022).


Encina Hall, Rm. C325

Office Hours

Office Hours

Mondays 3-4, or by appointment