Academic Profile

People Feature

Dirk Witteveen

Non-Stipendiary Research Fellow in Sociology

Research Interests: Social Mobility, Higher Education, Labor Market Inequality, Race and Ethnicity, Incarceration.

I am a Postdoctoral Prize Fellow at Nuffield College, University of Oxford. I obtained my PhD in Sociology from the Graduate Center, City University of New York (CUNY). I also hold a BA in Sociology from the University of Amsterdam and an MA in Sociology of Education from New York University.

I study mechanisms of inequality, mobility, and stratification in education, the labor market, and the penal system. My work contributes to debates about educational policy, social policy, and judiciary policy. I mainly focus on explaining the stark variation and inequities in populations’ socioeconomic well-being, such as employment chances, household income, job earnings, college graduation, and life expectancy. I am most interested in answering questions about how individual-level events and macro-economic conditions or shocks shape the directions life courses, as well as the heterogeneity therein; dimensions of class, race, gender, and their intersections. For example:

  • Does class background still matter for one's post-college labor market destination in modern-day society?
  • What is the effect of incarceration on premature death risk and does it vary by race or ethnicity?
  • Are U.S. and European youths more or less inclined to attend higher education during a recession?
  • Is the longer pathway from a community college to a four-year institution equally beneficial for college graduates?
  • Which interactions between social demographics and education pathway matter for understanding student loan debt?
  • To what extent do children of immigrants experience an ethnic penalty in a recessionary labor market?

In answering these questions I draw on empirical data from both the United States and Europe – in a comparative fashion where possible. I use a range of quantitative methods (from descriptive to computational), while retaining a strong interest in theoretical debates and qualitative research in my fields of study. My personal website contains more information on my past and current research projects.


Dirk Witteveen