... James Y. Chu
James Chu

James Chu

Assistant Professor

Columbia University


Hi! I’m an Assistant Professor of Sociology at Columbia University, where I study social stratification, economic and organizational sociology, political polarization, and the sociology of education.

I write about how social institutions foster inequality and conflict: What role do ranking systems play in the reproduction of unequal access to higher education? Do reputations introduce self-fulfilling cycles that widen achievement gaps among students? Do status hierarchies insulate people from aggression or expose them to it? I also evaluate potential solutions to social inequality and conflict. I rely on social network analysis, field experiments, and quasi-experimental methods of causal inference.

I am a co-organizer of the Strengthening Democracy Challenge, which crowdsources interventions to reduce anti-democratic attitudes, support for partisan violence, and partisan animosity from practitioners and academics from across the social sciences. We will run a massive online experiment to test these interventions.

You can find my work in journals like the American Journal of Sociology, Social Forces, Nature Human Behavior, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Journal of Public Analysis and Management, and Journal of Labor Economics.


  • inequality and stratification
  • economic and organizational sociology
  • politics and political polarization
  • education


  • PhD in Sociology, 2020

    Stanford University

  • MA in Sociology, 2011

    Stanford University

  • BS in Human Biology, 2011

    Stanford University