James Chu received his PhD in sociology from Stanford in 2020. His primary line of research investigates 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? He is also interested in how policy interventions lead to social inequality and conflict, even when they are designed to do the opposite. He uses social network analysis, field experiments, and quasi-experimental methods of causal inference to test answers to these sociological questions. His publications have appeared in the American Journal of Sociology, Social Forces, Socius, Journal of Public Analysis and Management, and Journal of Labor Economics.