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Department of Sociology Graduate Students

Xiao Li


M.A. Applied Quantitative Research, New York University, 2014
B.A. Sociology, Peking University, 2012
B.A. Economics, Peking University, 2012


Education, inequality, rural and non-rural differences, community, family, and gender

Research Interests

My current research is about rural and non-rural differences in American high school students’ college attendance decisions. In my master thesis, I use data from the High School Longitudinal Study of 2009 and 2012 to examine the rural and non-rural differences in how school factors affect students’ college attendance decisions. With the comprehensive logistic model, I do the so-called Blinder-Oaxaca decompositions to gain insights into the rural and non-rural differences. I found that there do exist significant rural and non-rural distinctions in the effects of school factors on students’ college attendance decisions. Although the rural and non-rural differences in the mean levels of the total school conditions are not big enough to contribute to statistically significant rural and non-rural differences, school factors are more influential on the college-plan proportion of non-rural students than on the proportion of rural students.

Now I am starting to examine whether family and other factors, like gender and race, will influence the rural and non-rural students’ college aspirations similarly or in a different way. I am also interested in other topics, such as gender division of labor within families, gender roles, single-parent families, breadwinner wives and rural-migrant workers in China.