LANE KENWORTHY, PH.D.
PROFESSOR OF SOCIOLOGY
Daniel Yankelovich Endowed Chair
on Social Thought
Research focus: I study the causes
and consequences of living standards,
poverty, inequality, mobility,
unemployment, economic growth,
social policy, taxes, public opinion and
politics in the United States and other
Real-world impact: Much of
my research has direct policy
implications, in that it aims to figure
out what sorts of institutions and
policies are effective in improving
the lives of ordinary people. Whether
policymakers listen is another matter.
What surprises you still about
your subject area, and why? Social
scientists usually are (rightly)
skeptical of any single research
finding. But we tend to be much more
skeptical if the finding contradicts our
prior beliefs or convictions than if the
finding is consistent with them. It isn’t
surprising that policymakers do this,
but we scientists ought to know better.
Throughout history, whose chair
would you most want to sit in?
Gandhi during the Indian struggle for
independence. He’s a complex and
fascinating person—an important
historical figure during an important