Xueguang Zhou

Photo of Xueguang Zhou

Xueguang Zhou, PhD

  • Senior Fellow at the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies
  • Kwoh-Ting Li Professor in Economic Development
  • Professor of Sociology
  • Graduate Seminar Professor at the Stanford Center at Peking University, June and July of 2014
  • Faculty Affiliate at the Stanford Center on China's Economy and Institutions

Shorenstein APARC
Stanford University
Encina Hall, E301
Stanford, CA 94305-6055

(650) 725-6392 (voice)
(650) 723-6530 (fax)


Xueguang Zhou is the Kwoh-Ting Li Professor in Economic Development, a professor of sociology, and a Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies senior fellow. His main area of research is on 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 the rise of the bureaucratic state in China. He works with students and colleagues to conduct participatory observations of government behaviors in the areas of environmental regulation enforcement, in policy implementation, in bureaucratic bargaining, and in incentive designs. He also studies patterns of career mobility and personnel flow among different government offices to understand intra-organizational relationships in the Chinese bureaucracy.

Another ongoing project is an ethnographic study of rural governance in China. Zhou adopts a microscopic approach to understand how peasants, village cadres, and local governments encounter and search for solutions to emerging problems and challenges in their everyday lives, and how institutions are created, reinforced, altered, and recombined in response to these problems. Research topics are related to the making of markets, village elections, and local government behaviors.

His recent publications examine the role of bureaucracy in public goods provision in rural China (Modern China, 2011); interactions among peasants, markets, and capital (China Quarterly, 2011); access to financial resources in Chinese enterprises (Chinese Sociological Review, 2011, with Lulu Li); multiple logics in village elections (Social Sciences in China, 2010, with Ai Yun); and collusion among local governments in policy implementation (Research in the Sociology of Organizations, 2011, with Ai Yun and Lian Hong; and Modern China, 2010).

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. Zhou received his Ph.D. in sociology from Stanford University in 1991.


Working Papers
November 2011

Modes of Governance in the Chinese Bureaucracy: A “Control Rights” Theory

cover link Modes of Governance in the Chinese Bureaucracy: A “Control Rights” Theory

Current research

In The News

Portrait of Xueguang Zhou and 3D mockup cover of his book, 'The Logic of Governance in China'

Stanford Sociologist Unveils How China Is Governed

In a new book, Stanford sociologist and APARC faculty Xueguang Zhou offers a unified theoretical framework to explain how China's centralized political system maintains governance and how this process produces obstacles to professionalism, bureaucratic rationalism, and the rule of law.
cover link Stanford Sociologist Unveils How China Is Governed
Headshot for Xueguang Zhou

Faculty Spotlight: Xueguang Zhou

cover link Faculty Spotlight: Xueguang Zhou