Lisa Keister is an economic sociologist who studies wealth ownership in the U.S. and relations among corporations.
She has conducted research on wealth ownership and inequality since the 1990s in work that documents inequalities in wealth ownership and the factors that explain group differences in saving and wealth ownership. She does work on high-wealth households—the one percent—and those with little or no wealth. Her research explores differences in saving and wealth across immigrant groups and by religious affiliation. She has also studied how spending and lifestyles affect saving and wealth trajectories. She is currently working on projects on gender differences in wealth and the association between wealth and health.
Keister also studies interfirm networks, including among Chinese firms. Her work on Chinese business groups during China’s transition documented the association between corporate structure and firm performance in the early years of China’s transition. She has continued to study networks and management in Chinese companies as they have evolved in recent decades.
Keister is former chair of three of the largest sections of the American Sociological Association: Economic Sociology; Organizations, Occupations, and Work; and Inequality, Poverty, and Mobility. She was the founding editor (with Jim Moody) of the journal Socius and has continued this work in a project (PROVE) that tackles the crisis in data replication in the social sciences.